“We have no doubt of the innocence of these educators and that they will be cleared of all charges.” Robertson County Schools
Three Indicted for “Failure To Report Sex Abuse” At East Robertson Elementary
According to the Robertson County Sheriff’s office, Three East Robertson Elementary School faculty members; Principal Renae Fehrman, Assistant Principal Kecia Young, and Robertson County Schools Administrator Donna Dorris turned themselves into the Robertson County Detention Facility Tuesday afternoon after warrants were issued for their arrest. The three have been Indicted by a the Robertson County Grand Jury for failure to report alleged child sex abuse after an investigation by the Robertson County Sheriff’s office. Bonds were set at $1,000 each, and all three made bond and were released. Their arraignments are set for May 3rd 2013.
This is a breaking story and we are still piecing it together but unofficially we understand the situation of alleged sex abuse took place between two students and no adults were involved. Both the alleged victim(s) and the perpetrator(s) involved were first and second graders (6 to 7 years old) at East Robertson Elementary. East Robertson is a Kindergarten through 5th grade school. The indictments are for allegedly failing to report the situation. These are new allegations, possibly stemming from an investigation last February that involved “Sexual Bullying” but since all agencies are legally bard from commenting on cases involving minors you can’t be absolutely sure it’s the same case as some agencies are reporting. For Smokey’s coverage of the “Sexual Bullying” case back in February click here.
According to a letter released by Robertson County Schools, the district cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office during their investigation. The letter also states that Robertson County Schools are standing behind the three educators stating that they “have no doubt of the innocence of these educators and that they will be cleared of all charges.”
UPDATE: May 2, 2013 Thursday 12:00PM Jim Ball reporting BREAKING: The three East Robertson Elementary School faculty members; Principal Renae Fehrman, Assistant Principal Kecia Young, and Robertson County Schools Administrator Donna Dorris all plead not guilty this morning at their arraignments. A settlement date has been scheduled for July 12.
UPDATE: Wednesday April 24th 2013
Jim Ball reporting
Smokey spoke to Robertson County Assistant District Attorney B. Dent Morris this morning. Mr. Morris clarified that this is not a Felony case, it’s a class A Misdemeanor. Also, this case is not about child sexual misconduct, it’s 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. R.C. 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” Morriss said. That’s what this case is revolving around, reporting.
As far as the disposition of the three educators during the litigation process, the Robertson County School administration have chosen not suspend them. The three educators are taking the day off Wednesday but will be back to work on Thursday, according to Jim Bellis, Robertson County Schools Communications Coordinator.
In this case Robertson County School’s has clearly chosen 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.
My point is that with all the media attention this case is getting and considering the type of case this is, it’s important to have a good look at the facts. If you would like to read the specifications of a civil lawsuit filed by the parents from Smokey’s original coverage of this story-> click here. It outlays the allegations that allegedly took place between the children and the schools reaction.
UPDATE: July 12, 2013
The three were in court on Friday, July 12. The settlement date for their case has been moved back to Aug. 23.
Jim Ball reporting
To see the Robertson County Schools and the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office press releases in this case see below.
For Immediate Release April 24, 2013
As a result of recent investigations, three employees of the Robertson County School System were indicted by the Robertson County Grand Jury for Failure to Report Alleged Child Sex Abuse. The three employees are Kecia Young, Renae Fehrman and Donna Dorris. All three surrendered themselves yesterday afternoon to the Robertson County Detention Facility on $1,000 bond. Arraignments are set for May 3, 2013. Any further inquiries into this case should be directed to the District Attorney’s Office. CONTACT: Ryan Martin Public Information Officer
Robertson County Schools
2121 Woodland Street ♦ Springfield, TN
37172 ♦ Phone (615) 384-5588 ♦ Fax (615) 384-9749
Dan Whitlow, Director
Contact: Jim Bellis, Communications Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
East Robertson Elementary School Principal Renae Fehrman, Assistant Principal Kecia Young, and Robertson County Schools Administrator Donna Dorris appeared at the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office today, Tuesday, April 23, in response to indictments by the Robertson County Grand Jury.
The indictments resulted from an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office into alleged failures regarding reporting practices to law enforcement officials and the Department of Children’s Services.
Robertson County Schools cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office during their investigation. As a district, we are shocked that the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office have pursued this matter to this point after examining the documented facts. Based on those facts as provided to the Sheriff’s Office we have no doubt of the innocence of these educators and that they will be cleared of all charges.
Robertson County Schools will continue to cooperate in whatever way necessary to bring this issue to a speedy conclusion. We know our administrators have the best interest of our students at heart and are confident this will be demonstrated through whatever proceedings ensue.
As this is a judicial matter, we would refer additional questions to the Robertson County District Attorney’s Office.