ESD Trial, Day 7 UPDATED

The court will open with continued testimony from Dr. Edward Dragan of Education Management Consulting. Cyndy Goosen, one of the family’s attorneys, has not yet finished questioning him but appears to be nearing a conclusion. After ESD cross-examines Dragan, I believe Father Stephen Swann will take the stand once again to resume his testimony.

And me? Well, seeing as how I spent my 23rd birthday in jail, I guess spending my 26th in court is a step up.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

I just finished writing the article for the print edition of Preston Hollow People, so this update is a bit delayed. But better late than never, eh?

9:50 a.m.

Before court goes into session, Benson rules a bill from Westin Hotel will be admitted into evidence, despite objections from ESD. (The bill shows J. Nathan Campbell used his ESD-issued credit card for a hotel room to pay for the room that the plaintiff’s say he had sex with Jane Doe II in).

10 a.m.

Dragan continues his expert witness testimony, echoing sentiments from yesterday’s proceedings.

“My review indicates there was absolutely no monitoring whatsoever of the equipment,” he said.

10:25 a.m.

Drama over the situation surround the departure of a former ESD math teacher unfolds. ESD lawyer Chrysta Castañeda objects to the use of any evidence related to this teacher as irrelevant and unfounded. The jury goes in and out of the courtroom four times during the next 30 minutes before Benson admits the evidence.

11 a.m.

Yet another piece of evidence concerning Erin Mayo comes up. This time its a series of emails and letters written to and from the person known only as “the math teacher” regarding inappropriate comments directed at a female student in 2007.

Allegedly, the teacher said,“I’m having a hard time keeping my pants up,” to the student during the homecoming dance, and later. “My daughter says I shouldn’t say things like that.”

Reportedly, the student responded, “You should listen to your daughter.”

In an unsigned, handwritten letter, someone from ESD agrees to comply with the math teacher’s wishes to edit his personnel file in regard to this incident and others.

“Amend letter — no reference to past ‘reprimand,'” the letter, dated Nov. 8, 2007, said.

11:40 a.m.

Cyndy Goosen asks Dragan if ESD committed “gross negligence” in regard to Jane Doe II’s well-being, its monitoring of employees, and its implementation of poilices.

“In my opinion, the school really didn’t care about what they were doing,” he said. “They didn’t care about [Jane Doe II], and they didn’t act in her best interest.”

Goosen asks if that was gross negligence.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That just rises above standard negligence … It went over and above.”

11:45 a.m.

Plaintiffs pass witness. Castañeda takes over the cross-examination for ESD begins asking Dragan about his knowledge of Campbell’s grooming process of Jane Doe II.

“Did you know that Campbell only got an ESD issued cell phone 6 weeks before leaving the school?” Castañeda asks.

Dragan says he was not aware of the timing.

Castañeda goes on to say that ESD didn’t even receive the cell phone bill until after Campbell resigned.

Castañeda asks Dragan if he’s aware Jane Doe II has been diagnosed with ADD. He says he is not aware of that.

Castañeda goes on to offer that there is a protocol for students with ADD to be given “different accommodations” such as meeting with teachers one-on-one, outside of class. Dragan agrees this protocol exists.

12:05 p.m.

Lunch recess until 1:30 p.m.

2:15 p.m.
Castañeda is going through the “Outline of Boundaries” talk for the umpteenth time.

2:30 p.m.
Castañeda reads an email from Mayo to Campbell dated Aug. 27, 2009 (several months into his sexual relationship with Jane Doe II). Mayo opens, “The context for this email is that I am your number one fan.” She goes on to address student complaints about the workload in his class and offers ways to make the assignments less demanding.

Castañeda says this shows that Campbell’s class is being monitored, but I was more intrigued by the opening line than anything else.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.

The judge has recessed the court until Monday following a line of questioning by Charla Aldous regarding an alleged previous case of sexual assault at ESD. Aldous was questioning Father Stephen Swann, founder and headmaster, when Shonn Brown objected and requested to approach the bench. Here are the last lines of testimony:

“If ESD had kicked [Jane Doe II] out of the school because what happened between her and Nathan Campbell sullied the pristine reputation of ESD, do you believe this would be a sin?” Aldous asks.

“I do,” Swann says. “[Sexual abuse] is a horrible wrong and a sin … I will remember it for the rest of my life.”

Aldous then asks, “You don’t know of another ESD student that’s been sexually assaulted by a teacher, do you?”

Objection by Shonn Brown. Aldous offers to rephrase.

“You never recall another incident at ESD where a teacher had sex with a student?” Aldous asks.

Brown asks to approach the bench. Brief break in testimony. When the attorneys return, Aldous resumes her questioning, this time saying:

“You have no knowledge of any other student being sexually abused or having a sexual relationship with a teacher at ESD?” Aldous says.

“I do not,” Swann says.

“Father Swann, that is a lie sir, is it not?” Aldous asks.

No answer, then Aldous names another student who stated she was sexually abused by a teacher at ESD in 2000 and told Swann about it. Swann says he remembers the student’s name.

Brown calls to approach. The jury is sent home, and the counselors go into the judge’s chambers.

The trial will resume on Monday, August 8.

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