Every morning as we prepare our children for another school day, we want to believe that the institution and teachers that work with our children have their best interests at heart. Unfortunately for several children at Lincoln Center Elementary in South St. Paul, this was not the case. Former teacher and trusted mentor, Aric Babbitt, preyed on the innocence and vulnerability of several students in the South St. Paul school district. Ten survivors have now come forward alleging sexual abuse by Babbitt and his husband Matthew Deyo.
When a brave, young 16 year-old boy reported Babbitt and Deyo to South St. Paul Police in August 2016, the two alleged perpetrators immediately fled the state and were found dead eight days later in an apparent murder-suicide. Additionally, a note was left behind by the couple stating “they do not believe that they did any harm, nor did they intend any hurt.” Well, harm and hurt are two things that are guaranteed to result in situations such as this.
For the rest of their lives, these ten survivors will be haunted by the abuse they suffered at the hands of these two men. Some will lead fairly “normal” lives and find success, while others will take a different path. A path often wrought with mental health issues, shame, embarrassment and host of other effects that were a result of Babbitt and Deyo’s manipulative and destructive abuse. The hurt and the harm are real.
We want survivors to know that help, hope and healing are possible. You can come forward in a safe and confidential space. We are thankful to those survivors who have already come forward and we encourage others to do the same, not only to begin their healing processes, but to ensure the safety and protection of our children in the future.