The Los Angeles Times reports that suspended teacher Rafe Esquirh is being investigated for abusing a child 40 years ago.

This must be every teacher’s worst nightmare: being accused of behavior to which there were no witnesses. The accusation alone, even if false, can ruin one’s reputation

In this situation, an allegation about what did or did not happen 40 years ago, how is it possible to establish guilt or innocence?

I tend to be skeptical because of a situation that occurred when I lived in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s. Half a dozen girls accused their teacher of inappropriate touching. The case seemed overwhelming against the teacher. But when the girls were questioned individually, they retracted their accusation. They wanted to punish the teacher for assigning too much homework and being a tough grader.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.