ESD Trial, Day 13 UPDATED
For starters, happy first day of school to ESD. I just finished updating yesterday’s post with the after lunch testimony, so read up. I was totally off on my witness guesses on the last post, so I’ll hold my tongue today.
In case you haven’t seen the last addition to the Day 12 post, I’ll recreate it here, as I have a feeling many of you will be interested in it. This testimony was presented outside the presence of the jury and Judge D’Metria Benson ruled it would not be admitted. However, it is part of the open court record.
Monday 5:05 p.m.
ESD asks to present an offer of proof on why certain parts of John Doe’s video deposition should be admitted into evidence.
Aldous says that they can simply have the video deposition admitted as evidence for that same purpose, but Chrysta Castaneda, lead counsel for ESD takes issue with that idea.
“The Court of Appeals looks for testimony to be written into the court record,” Castaneda says.
The judge allows it. And thus begins a 30 minute clip of testimony in which nothing terribly exciting happens. Except for this.
John Doe says his daughter had a midnight curfew on weekends and a 10 p.m. curfew on weeknights. He says he did not monitor her cell phone usage until after the Nov. 29, 2009 incident with the Farmers Branch Police.
An unidentified ESD attorney then asked the question many on the blog are posing:
“Inappropriate acts occurred at your home, and you didn’t discover them, did you?” the attorney asks.
“No,” Doe says.
“But you are suing the school and the diocese for not discovering inappropriate behavior?” he asks.
“Yes,” the father says, adding, “It’s my opinion that the school has an equal responsibility, perhaps more, in protecting my child.”
UPDATE 1:30 p.m.
I’ve been busy writing up this week’s Preston Hollow People print story, and now the lunch recess is over so I can’t add updates at this time. Sorry! I will tell you that the victim’s mother, Jane Doe, took the stand this morning. If there’s a long enough recess in the afternoon, I’ll fill you in with all the details then. If not, wait for the after 5 p.m. post.
UPDATE 1:50 p.m.
Unexpectedly, the judge is meeting in chambers and so proceedinds haven’t begun. I’m going to add my notes from this monrning for as long as u can. But be merciful as I’m typing all this up on my phone, which isn’t letting me see the scren as I type. Curses.
Jane Doe, the victim’s mother,takes the stand. Cyndy Goosen is leading the questioning for the plaintiffs.
Doe says she was “very surprised” to learn ESD was not part of the Episcopal diocese.
Doe says her daughter was “nervous, frantic, and scared,” when she explained she had been confronted by the Farmers Branch Police when meeting with Campbell.
Doe and her husband felt “numb” upon hearing this news.
“We couldn’t discuss it too much that night,” she said.
Doe says she remembers Rebecca Royall being “very reassuring” to her daughter in the initial meeting after the police incident.
“She said Jane wouldn’t be punished,” Doe says on the stand. “Rebecca told her they had no intention of making her leave.”
Doe says that she did request the school protect her daughter’s identity and the fanily’s privacy, but she never suggested how ESD should handle the situation with the school community.
Doe says she initiated a therapy reccomendaton from ESD, not the other way around.
“Were you ever contacted by ESD about your daughter failing to thrive?” Goosen asks.
No, Doe says.
Regarding her daughter’s expulsion, Doe says she was “completely stunned.”
“In my mind, there was no reason for this,” she says. “It was so wrong on so many levels —what they were doing, how they were doing it.”
Doe says when she got on the phone with Royall, she was told that the situation was “a firestorm” and that “everyone in the whole ESD community” knew about her daughter’s involvement with Campbell.
Doe says when she and her husband told Jane that she couldn’t go back to ESD, her daughter’s response was “Everything [Campbell] said was going to happen to me has happened!”
Goosen asks if Doe felt like ESD showed her family compassion or caring.
“I felt like Jane was a problem for them and instead of trying to help this damaged child, and this family in crisis, they felt like it was easier to just get rid of us,” Doe says.
Shonn Brown opens cross-examination for ESD by asking Doe if she noticed any changes in her daughter’s behavior during the time period of the relationship with Campbell.
“That’s a hard question to answer,” Doe says. “She was entering her junior year. That’s a very stressful time because of a lot of college decisions … There were a lot of stressors on her. I didn’t think it was abnormal because I had been through it with the other three children.”
Brown asks if Doe noticed an increase in the amount of time that Jane spent away from home.
Doe says that she didn’t.
Brown shows evidence that Jane spent the night in a hotel with Campbell on two consecutive Friday nights in October.
“After Nathan Campbell left, did you believe ESD was a safe place for your daughter?” Brown asks.
“I did,” Doe says.
Brown shows notes from Jane’s therapist that expressed concern about the effect of the rumors on Jane. Brown asks Doe if the presence of rumors and the fact that Jane’s name was included in them was “protecting her privacy.”
Doe says no.
“Would it be concerning if the rumors continued?” Brown asks.
“Yes, it would be concerning,” Doe says.
Brown shows more therapy notes from the following week indicating the rumors had continued and included Jane’s name as well as the names of other female students.
“Do you think it’s healthy for a school environment to have rumors floating around about girls having sexual relations with a teacher?” Brown asks.
“No, I do not,” Doe says.
In my opinion, this is ESD’s best cross-examination yet.
Brown shows evidence that the therapist for Jane and John Doe had recommended the couple consider the possibility of removing their daughter from ESD.
Brown asks Doe if her main motivation for keeping Jane at ESD was because that’s what her daughter wanted.
“At that time we had no indication from Jane that she wasn’t doing well at the school,” Doe says. “It never entered our mind at that time to withdraw her.”
Brown shows a draft of the withdrawal document for Jane with spaces for signatures of both her parents. The family’s attorneys have repeatedly asserted that not enough emphasis was given on both parents attending the Jan. 27 meeting.
“This was prepared in anticipation for both parents to be there,” Brown says.
The letter that was eventually signed only had a space for the father.
At the time of the meeting, Doe testifies she was at home packing for a college trip with her daughter. The Doe’s home was located a few minutes from ESD’s campus.
“Why didn’t you just go five minutes down the road?” Brown asks.
Doe says she was “in such a state of shock” that the she didn’t even think about having that option.
Lunch recess until 1:30 p.m.
Brown opens with a clarification about Doe’s earlier testimony that she had been the one to initiate contact with ESD’s psychologist Dr. Andy McGarrahan.
“Rebecca Royall first suggested to you that you contact Dr. McGarrahan about a referral for Jane, didn’t he?” Brown asks.
Does says yes, she believes Royall did suggest the idea.
Brown tries to show several personal emails between Doe and her daughter’s therapist, Dr. Laura McCracken, but Goosen objects and the judge won’t allow it.
Brown finally wins one and shows an email from May 2010 where Doe discussed dealing with the media. In it, Doe wrote to McCracken, “We’re waiting until Monday so the newspaper will have ‘scoop.’”
“You weren’t happy about the article that was written about the lawsuit, were you?” Brown asks.
“There were some aspects I wasn’t happy with, some words that were used,” Doe says.
Brown asks Doe is she has “any personal knowledge” about whether or not her daughter shared with students that she’d had sex with Campbell.
Doe says she doesn’t have any personal knowledge about that.
“You basis for not believing that Jane was spreading rumors was Jane, correct?” Brown asks.
“Yes, it was,” Doe answers.
“And we’ve already established that Jane hasn’t always been truthful with you, has she?” Brown asks.
“No, she has not,” Doe says.
Brown shows evidence that the Doe family at one point considered suing Campbell civilly.
Doe says she told her daughter not to see or talk to Campbell after the events of Nov. 29, 2009.
Brown reads from a supplemental Farmers Branch Police report, which was taken after an officer had spoken with Jane’s mother on Nov. 30. The report said that the mother was “OK” with her daughter being with a teacher in a parking lot, and that she had been aware that Campbell was counseling her daughter.
Doe says the officer’s report is inaccurate.
“They got a lot of information wrong,” Doe says.
The police report from Nov. 29 said that Jane Doe was a student at Parish Episcopal. Brown offers that this was information given to the police by Jane.
Brown asks Doe is she was upset on the evening of Nov. 29.
“Was I upset?” Doe asks incredulously. “I had just found out that my daughter was in a car with a teacher, which in itself was inappropriate. Yes, I was upset.”
Brown shows that one of Doe’s older daughters sent her an email on Nov. 30 at 10:30 p.m. in which she said, “I know the things I saw about Nathan Campbell.” She went on to say that she had seen emails between her sister and Campbell to Campbell’s ESD account. One email in particular had pictures of her sister.
Doe wrote back on Dec. 1, “Put your detective skills to rest,” adding “The Nathan Campbell matter is closed.”
Doe says that she had mixed feelings after the first couple of meetings with Royall and Mayo.
“I came away from those two meetings definitely feeling like Rebecca Royall had Jane’s best interest at heart,” Doe says, adding that she didn’t know Mayo very well at the time.
“I felt like I was in an interrogation [with Mayo],” Doe says. “I felt she was more concerned with information than with Jane.”
Brown asks Doe is she shared the information that her other daughter had given her regarding emails between Campbell and Jane.
Doe says she did not.
Brown passes witness.
Goosen asks Doe if her daughter getting expelled betrayed her privacy and identity as the victim of Nathan Campbell.
“Absolutely,” Doe says. “In fact, I think I said to Rebecca Royall, ‘You have just validated all the rumors.’”
Witness is excused.
There’s all sorts of hullabaloo surrounding the next witness, Chris Burrow. The attorneys go into Judge Benson’s chambers.
The attorneys emerge and say they’ve decided the former ESD CFO will be called tomorrow morning.
The jury is sent home, but the fun’s not over yet. Brown calls the victim’s mother up for a live offer of proof.
Doe says the only thing she checked on her daughter’s (or any family member’s) cell phone bill was if there was an overage on minutes or texts.
Brown shows that Doe’s cell phone was used to make phone calls to Nathan Campbell at the same time that her daughter’s cell phone was texting him on the evening of Nov. 5.
Doe has no explanation for this other than the fact that her daughter sometimes borrowed her phone.
Cell phone records show that Jane Doe II sent 15 texts to Campbell from 9:35 to 10:06 p.m., the same time that her mother’s cell was engaged in phone calls to Campbell.
Brown says Doe II’s best friend has testified that Doe confronted her daughter in the summer of 2009 about sending texts to Nathan Campbell.
Doe says she has no memory of that ever occurring,
In her testimony, Doe II said she saw Campbell “every other day” during the summer. Brown asks Doe where her daughter said she was going all those times and if she followed up to see if her daughter had been telling the truth.
“I was not in the habit of investigating every place my daughter told me she was going, no,” Doe says.
Brown asks that this line of testimony be allowed in front of the jury.
“Denied,” Benson says.
Court is in recess until 9 a.m. tomorrow.