by Gary Wunder
As its name implies, the Braille Monitor has as one of its major roles that of watchdog to ensure that blind people are treated fairly, respectfully, and with dignity. When an individual or organization does something that makes life better for the blind, we trumpet it; when the opposite is true, we embrace the more difficult task of exposing the wrongdoing, endeavoring to report without ourselves throwing stones.
It is with sadness that we must announce the conviction of Mr. Albert (Al) Lovati for having sexual relations with a minor who attended the Indiana School for the Blind, where he worked as a teacher. On learning of the charge of sexual misconduct and confirming it with Lovati and his victim, the Indiana School for the Blind immediately dismissed him.
Lovati was a winner of a Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award in 2010 for helping to build a bridge between the Lions Club, the Indiana School for the Blind, and the National Federation of the Blind. His work enriched the lives of many blind students by introducing them to role models and assisting them in getting training leading to education and employment.
Lovati has received a sentence of six years, two of which he will serve in prison. Having sexual relations with a minor is, by any standard, an action deserving of punishment. We feel great sorrow for the victim, for her family, for the family of Mr. Lovati, and for all of those who trusted him by lending their names to his work. Programs sponsored jointly by the Lions Club and the National Federation of the Blind continue, with a fishing derby scheduled over the Father's Day weekend. It is our fervent hope that the partnerships established for blind students will not be counted among the victims of this criminal act and that together we can continue to provide blind students with the education and training that will help them become happy, responsible, contributing adults.