Today the district attorney announced a decision to drop all charges
Smokey Barn News, December 16, 2013
Charges Dropped Against Three Faculty At East Robertson Elementary
“We have no doubt of the innocence of these educators and that they will be cleared of all charges.” That was the word from Robertson County Schools back in April. Today the district attorney announced a decision to drop all charges against three East Robertson Elementary School faculty members; Principal Renae Fehrman, Assistant Principal Kecia Young, and Robertson County Schools Administrator Donna Dorris this morning at the Roberson County Courthouse.
After reading off the states version of the events that the charges were based on; Jason White, assistant district attorney for the 19th Judicial District, indicated the state was dismissing all charges. After looking over the evidence and interviewing all the witnesses the state apparently didn’t feel they would be able to convince a jury that a crime had been committed. Mike Davis, Robertson County Director of Schools said, “I can’t comment due to the ongoing civil suit.” More about civil suit below.
The three were Indicted by a Robertson County Grand Jury for failure to report alleged child sex abuse after an investigation by the Robertson County Sheriff’s office.
Smokey spoke to Robertson County Assistant District Attorney B. Dent Morriss in April, Mr. Morriss clarified that this was not a Felony case, it was a class A Misdemeanor. Also, the case against the three was not about child sexual misconduct, it was about following reporting procedures. When (or if) a teacher believes that there has been any sexual misconduct involving a child they must (by law) report the situation to the Department of Children’s Services. The Robertson County School administration allegedly side-stepped that procedure. RC School’s did conduct their own investigation but allegedly did not report the situation to D.C.S. “There may be no misconduct at all, but if you suspect there could have been then, you call D.C.S and let them do their job” Morris said. That’s what this case was revolving around, reporting.
After a few months looking at all the facts of the case the D.A. decided not to move forward. This will be a big relief to the community and a school that clearly stood behind the three faculty members. Back on May 2nd 2013 all three plead not guilty so it was clear that they were not interested in a plea deal, they felt they were innocent and were prepared to state their case in court.
Back in May about 200 people showed up at Kilgore Park in Cross Plains (Location Of Rally MAP) to show support for three East Robertson Elementary School faculty members. iPhone/iPad users click on photo to play VIDEO http://youtu.be/oJ7cpJkXuC0
Robertson County School’s clearly chose to stand behind the actions of their faculty members, they don’t always do that. In the last year there have been two other situations involving alleged student teacher situations where Robertson County School’s chose not to stand behind faculty alleged actions. Back on April 5th a teacher at a Springfield Middle School resigned after a report alleging misconduct with a student. The case was never prosecuted and the teacher resigned, but the Robertson County School’s reaction was (according to Jim Bellis the Communications Coordinator) ”It is likely that the report would have placed her job in jeopardy”
Then back in March a teacher acting as a chaperone was allegedly intoxicated during a field trip. Again there were no arrests and no one was prosecuted. Robertson County School’s reaction was however not so generous. In that case Robertson County Schools ”requested, received and accepted the resignation” of the teacher involved, according to a press release provided by the School District rep.
The question is will today’s proceedings in any way affect the outcome of the civil case. For more on the civil case click here.