What Happened in the 2016 Justin Beaton Case and Its Impact

Justin Beaton 2016 Case | Historical Record

Justin Beaton 2016 Case
Historical Record

Racine, WI Substitute Teacher, Justin Beaton in a suit looking forward

Who Justin Is

Justin's Life

Justin Beaton is a friendly, family-oriented, and law-abiding husband, father, son, brother, and uncle. He has a B.A. in English, he is very involved with his wife and his families and their church, and, most of all, he is a Christian who loves the Lord. You can also find out more about him on his website or YouTube channel.

Purpose of This Website

Provided by the JBCHP©, an organization that advocates for media transparency and rational criminal justice, this site exists as a historical record of Justin Beaton’s 2016 court case and highlights the impact it’s hadMany years have passed, and so it is simply an educational archive for anyone interested in learning about the now long-ago case and how it has influenced positive change.

Racine, WI Substitute Teacher, Justin Beaton in a suit looking forward

Who Justin Is

Justin's Life

Justin Beaton is a friendly, family-oriented, and law-abiding husband, father, son, brother, and uncle. He has a B.A. in English, he is very involved with his wife and his families and their church, and, most of all, he is a Christian who loves the Lord. You can also find out more about him on his website or YouTube channel.

Purpose of This Website

Provided by the JBCHP©, an organization that advocates for media transparency and rational criminal justice, this site exists as a historical record of Justin Beaton’s 2016 court case and highlights the impact it’s had. Many years have passed, and so it is simply an educational archive for anyone interested in learning about the now long-ago case and how it has influenced positive change.

Backstory

What Happened

In 2015–2016, Justin Beaton—now married and starting a family—was a young man taking periodic substitute jobs at high schools in Racine, WI, which basically consisted of taking attendance and hanging out. He was friends with and well-liked by staff and students and was the subject of regular comments and serious propositions from young women—many of whom were mature and viewed him as a prospect as they already dated guys in their twenties. He got involved with two different young women—both 17 almost 18 and in the same generation as him years-wise—”Girl 1″ and “Girl 2” (hanging out and making out)They were friends, all interactions and interest were mutual, he took responsibility even before the case ever happened, had no priors, was sentenced to three years of probation for the encounters, and has never had a case again. This is Justin’s statement on it.

Media Sensationalism

Public Mischaracterizations

Later detailed by “Girl 1,” the police report contained discrepancies that were uncritically broadcast in the news. Regarding a separate factually inaccurate social media photo situation (“harmful material”) that was falsely represented as criminally “harmful,” “Girl 3” said Justin did nothing to her and dismissed the police report’s narrative of events. Contrary to the sensationalized and slanted public narrative at the time, all interactions were mutual and devoid of any nonmutual “predatory” element, Justin maintained subsequent physical boundaries, and he was not at school with ill intent. His attorney called the charges “ridiculous” due to the girl’s ages and level of sophistication, he said it would have been a misdemeanor case, and “Girl 1” herself reiterated to Justin years later how the public narrative at the time wasn’t accurate to reality.

Backstory

What Happened

in 2015–2016, Justin Beaton—now married and starting a family—was a young man taking periodic substitute jobs at high schools in Racine, WI, which basically consisted of taking attendance and hanging out. He was friends with and well-liked by staff and students and was the subject of regular comments and serious propositions from young women—many of whom were mature and viewed him as a prospect as they already dated guys in their twenties. He got involved with two different young women—both 17 almost 18 and in the same generation as him years-wise—”Girl 1″ and “Girl 2” (hanging out and making out)They were friends, all interactions and interest were mutual, he took responsibility even before the case ever happened, had no priors, was sentenced to three years of probation for the encounters, and has never had a case again. This is Justin’s statement on it.

Media Sensationalism

Public Mischaracterizations

Later detailed by “Girl 1,” the police report contained discrepancies that were uncritically broadcast in the news. Regarding a separate factually inaccurate social media photo situation (“harmful material”) that was falsely represented as criminally “harmful,” “Girl 3” said Justin did nothing to her and dismissed the police report’s narrative of events. Contrary to the sensationalized and slanted public narrative at the time, all interactions were mutual and devoid of any nonmutual “predatory” element, Justin maintained subsequent physical boundaries, and he was not at school with ill intent. His attorney called the charges “ridiculous” due to the girl’s ages and level of sophistication, he said it would have been a misdemeanor case, and “Girl 1” herself reiterated to Justin years later how the public narrative at the time wasn’t accurate to reality.

Photos of Justin circa 2016.
Photos of Justin circa 2016.

The Facts Finally Emerge

Media Content Removed

All 22 media outlets that covered the case in 2016 were respectfully approached in the ensuing years and shown evidence of the accurate narrative of events that was already confirmed by a private investigator. By God’s grace, an astounding 17 of them (including large news outlets like FOX6, TMJ4, and Yahoo! News) compassionately removed their content. Sadly, despite also receiving support from some of the original journalists who authored the remaining content, the last few still refused to acknowledge the evidence. They were subsequently sent this cease-and-desist letter, which was followed by 2022 civil action.

Conversation with "Girl 1" Years Later

A long time has passed, and everyone involved has moved on with their lives and families, but in a conversation with “Girl 1” several years later, she corroborated the news narrative as inaccurate, emphasized how she was never mad at him, and that she appreciated their friendship, and even apologized that it was all blown out of proportion. Justin immensely appreciated her and the kind words of encouragement she shared with him that are a good reminder to us all to be forgiving of one another. 

Impact on Change

TMJ4's "Moving Forward" Initiative

Inspired by Justin’s case and others like it, TMJ4 launched an initiative in 2022 called “Moving Forward” that allows the subjects of outdated or inaccurate news stories the opportunity to have them removed. On their site, they state, We understand that lives change, and people change, and online search results can have a lasting impact on someone’s ability to move forward.” 

RTDNA Amends Crime Coverage Policy

Due directly to Justin’s case, one of the leading journalistic ethics organizations in the U.S., the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), amended its crime coverage policy in 2024 to state, While police sources are an important resource in covering crime, we recommend they not be the only sources used. While we respect the view of law enforcement, news organizations must do their best to find additional sources to give consumers a full understanding of the stories we cover.” Many other industry professionals have also voiced support for Justin, his family, and a more transparent media.

The Facts Finally Emerge

Media Content Removed

All 22 media outlets that covered the case in 2016 were respectfully approached in the ensuing years and shown evidence of the accurate narrative of events that was already confirmed by a private investigator. By God’s grace, an astounding 17 of them (including large news outlets like FOX6, TMJ4, and Yahoo! News) compassionately removed their content. Sadly, despite also receiving support from some of the original journalists who authored the remaining content, the last few still refused to acknowledge the evidence. They were subsequently sent this cease-and-desist letter, which was followed by 2022 civil action.

Conversation with "Girl 1" Years Later

A long time has passed, and everyone involved has moved on with their lives and families, but in a conversation with “Girl 1” several years later, she corroborated the news narrative as inaccurate, emphasized how she was never mad at him, and that she appreciated their friendship, and even apologized that it was all blown out of proportion. Justin immensely appreciated her and the kind words of encouragement she shared with him that are a good reminder to us all to be forgiving of one another. 

Justin Beaton

Impact on Change

TMJ4's "Moving Forward" Initiative

Inspired by Justin’s case and others like it, TMJ4 launched an initiative in 2022 called “Moving Forward” that allows the subjects of outdated or inaccurate news stories the opportunity to have them removed. On their site, they state, We understand that lives change, and people change, and online search results can have a lasting impact on someone’s ability to move forward.” 

RTDNA Amends Crime Coverage Policy

Due directly to Justin’s case, one of the leading journalistic ethics organizations in the U.S., the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), amended its crime coverage policy in 2024 to state, While police sources are an important resource in covering crime, we recommend they not be the only sources used. While we respect the view of law enforcement, news organizations must do their best to find additional sources to give consumers a full understanding of the stories we cover.” Many other industry professionals have also voiced support for Justin, his family, and a more transparent media.

Former Racine, WI substitute teacher, Justin Beaton in the forest

Making a Difference

School Social Boundaries Awareness

Seeking to address the need for programs that educate on social boundary awareness in schools today, Justin developed an outline for a potential school orientation video on social boundaries and pitched it to school districts. There are plenty of antiquated orientation videos on various sorts of procedural aspects for jobs in the education field, but none address the need for social boundary training and awareness, especially for young, personable staff members at the high school level. Schools today, especially high schools, are sadly not “wholesome establishments of learning,” and the training needs to reflect that. 

Making a Difference

School Social Boundaries Awareness

Seeking to address the need for programs that educate on social boundary awareness in schools today, Justin developed an outline for a potential school orientation video on social boundaries and pitched it to school districts. There are plenty of antiquated orientation videos on various sorts of procedural aspects for jobs in the education field, but none address the need for social boundary training and awareness, especially for young, personable staff members at the high school level. Schools today, especially high schools, are sadly not “wholesome establishments of learning”, and the training needs to reflect that.

"I think what you went through was unfortunate... Glad you got vindicated." -Editor, Shepherd Express

"I think what you went through was unfortunate... Glad you got vindicated." -Editor, S.E.