Nine OR teachers lose license over sexual misconduct allegations in 2015

MEDFORD, Ore. — Alarming new statistics reveal a number of teachers in Oregon have lost their license for sexual abuse in just the past year. In 2015, nine teachers in Oregon lost their licenses over claims of sexual misconduct.

Within the last three months, two local teachers have been arrested and formally charged with sexual abuse against children in their care. While these cases are still very active in the judicial system, the allegations are rattling to parents, and the community as a whole.

Parents with children at Manzanita Elementary school said they were in disbelief, after allegations surfaced that Van Len Granger, a 5th grade teacher and a mentor with the Options Wrap Around Program sexually abused a male student in his care.

“I think everybody, everybody was mostly shocked,” said Bernadette Carrasco, a parent. “Not Mr. Granger, that’s where everyone kind of stood.”

Students at Crater High School in Central Point expressed the same surprise over allegations that teacher Jeffrey Zundel engaged in sexual intercourse with a female student.

“He talks to us with great respect,” Jack Russel said, a Crater student. “He teaches us everything we need to know. and he never says anything sexual or anything.”

The two local educators were arrested in just three months, facing 14 criminal charges– all sexual in nature. NBC5 news pulled court documents on both cases; Police arrested Zundel on October 26th, and formal charges were filed by the District Attorney’s office two weeks later. He’s facing 11 counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, and one count in the third.

WEBSITE BLURRED KIDS PICJust under two months later, Granger was arrested on December 21st for sexual abuse in the first degree, and sodomy in the second. According to court documents, he may also be facing similar charges in Douglas county for an incident that allegedly occurred there with the same child.

The jump in complaints has caught the eye of many, including Victoria Chamberlain, the Executive Director of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission in Salem. The TSPC licenses every educator in the state, and has the power to revoke them.

Last year, nine teachers lost their licenses over sexual misconduct with students.

“The threshold for what people put up with is pretty, pretty small, and people don’t give people the benefit of the doubt when people mess up with kids and boundaries… which is a good thing,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain personally oversees those cases, and makes suggestions for appropriate penalties, including the revocation of teaching credentials.

“The number of complaints, of non-school district complaints has gone up significantly in the last 10 years,” Chamberlain said.

The increase in complaints has more recently come from colleagues, parents, and the department of human services, but now Chamberlain notes, they’re also coming from students themselves.

“Kids i think are more courageous today than they were years ago.”

For parents, any allegations is unsettling.

“I was actually really thankful for him because he was one of the teachers that made a lot of progress with my son,” Carrasco said.

NBC5 News would like to make special note that the criminal cases against Jeffrey Zundel and Van Len Granger are both active, and playing out in Jackson county  court.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content