Right's New Quarry: Gay Ed. Appointee

Fox et al. say Kevin Jennings didn't act on 1980s statutory rape
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2009 9:30 PM CDT
Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.   (Facebook)

(Newser) – One of President Obama’s appointees to the Department of Education has become the latest target for conservatives emboldened by the departures of green-jobs adviser Van Jones and others. Assistant deputy secretary Kevin Jennings is accused of neglecting to report a statutory rape case when he was a teacher in Massachusetts in the 1980s—but records show that the boy involved was 16, legally able to consent under state law.

Left-leaning blogs have jumped to defend Jennings, a longtime gay activist who was in the closet at the time of the incident. David Corn notes that, in essence, the right is vilifying Jennings for not outing the student. “This is now a fight with consequences extending beyond who’s handling safe school policy for President Obama,” he writes for Politics Daily. Rachel Weiner, blogging for the Huffington Post, notes with disdain that mainstream outlets like Politico have picked up on the “distorted” Fox News version.