Kentucky’s Governor Just Apologized for Claiming Teacher Protest Led to Sexual Assaults

“I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said.”

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. Alex Slit/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) issued an apology Sunday following outrage over his assertion that a walkout by teachers in the state likely led to children being sexually assaulted and facing other “physical” harms. 

“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” Bevin told a WDRB reporter on Friday after thousands of teachers demonstrated at the state capitol, leading to school closures around the state. Bevin’s comment sparked a public backlash and an official condemnation from Kentucky lawmakers. 

In a video posted Sunday, Bevin apologized for the “unintended consequences” of his remarks. “For those of you who understood what I’m saying, thank you. But clearly a tremendous number of people did not fully appreciate what it was that I was communicating, and I hurt a lot of people,” he said. “I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said. That was not my intent whatsoever.” 

Kentucky teachers have sparred with Bevin over his handling of the state’s pension plan and his recent veto of a budget bill that would increase school funding. State lawmakers overrode the veto on Friday. Teachers across the state are reportedly asking other educators to wear black on Monday in protest of the governor’s comments.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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