All I know for (semi) certain about today’s testimony is that “Mary Smith,” current ESD student and former friend of Jane Doe II, is going to testify outside the presence of the jury around 4:30 p.m. Check yesterday’s post for the skinny on why that’s a controversy.
ESD has no shortage of witnesses left to call, and lead counsel Chrysta Castaneda told Judge D’Metria Benson that the earliest she would rest her case would be Tuesday, Sept. 6.
I’ll update as available today.
UPDATE 12:45 p.m.
For the best summary of today’s testimony thus far, I’ll have to borrow sports editor Chuck Cox’s phrasing. Rebecca Royall, chief academic officer at ESD, once again took the stand. And while Chrysta Castaneda asked many of the same questions as Charla Aldous had originally, Royall had a bunch of new answers. Didn’t see that one coming.
Royall takes the stand for the second time in this trial. She was called as a witness by the plaintiffs on Aug. 9.
Royall says as headmaster, Stephen Swann is in charge of external relations with the community, alumni, and donors.
Castaneda shows documents asserting ESD’s 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
Royall says her sexual abuse training is primarily from the Outline of Boundaries talk given by chaplain Oliver Butler and school psychologist Dr. Andy McGerrahan in 2004 and 2008.
Addressing the vehicle check-out policy, Royall says the a book where employees sign in and out, as well as state a reason for use.
Royall says Nathan Campbell’s cell phone bill for his ESD iPhone was found in his office when school officials cleaned it out after his resignation.
Castaneda asks Royall about her previous testimony in which she said that Campbell’s comments on Jane’s report card would have been “a red flag.”
Royall clarified that she meant it in light of all the information currently known about the extent of Campbell’s contact with Jane.
“In hindsight yes, because we already know what happened,” Royall says, adding that she “probably wouldn’t have noticed it as much” at the time.
Yesterday, expert witness Dr. David Thompson testified that the comments were unremarkable.
Royall says when Campbell came into her office on Nov. 30 to explain why he’d been found with a student in a parking lot off campus by police, she was harsh with him.
“I looked him in the face, and I said, ‘Are you completely stupid?'” Royall says on the stand.
Royall then told Campbell she’d be conducting an investigation, to which he allegedly responded:
“What does that mean?”
Royall says that Campbell respected and feared her.
“I’m 6 feet tall, and when I say ‘Are you completely stupid,’ he gets that I’m not protecting him,” Royall says.
This is the second time an ESD administrator has represented that a teacher was afraid of them. Erin Mayo, head of the upper school, previously testified that a French teacher was “scared to death of her.”
Castaneda asks Royall what her response was when the tapes purported to be between Chris Burrow and Campbell showed Burrow saying that he and “Rebecca” wished Campbell the best possible outcome in his criminal case.
“I almost threw up,” Royall says.
“Did you ever say anything like that?” Castaneda asks.
“Absolutely not,” Royall says.
Royall says she learned the relationship between Campbell and Jane had been sexual after he had resigned and was horrified. She continued to ask Jane about the extent of the relationship because she needed confirmation before calling CPS, Royall says.
In a meeting with Jane and her parents, Royall says they discussed keeping the matter private, and she asked Jane if she’d told anyone about it. Jane told her no.
“That was a crucial piece of the conversation,” Royall says.
“At that point, and several times after, I said the problem is going to come if you can stay at the school if and when you tell someone,” Royall says, adding that the idea to keep the situation private was first expressed by Jane’s parents, and she supported them in it. “It was set up so that if you don’t tell anyone, you can stay at the school, but the alternate was if you do tell someone, you will have to leave. It was very clear.”
Royall says she believed Jane when she told her no one else knew.
In the meeting with the parents, Royall says Jane’s father asked “the hard questions,” including if Campbell had taken his “trousers” off.
Royall says she recommended that Jane change her cell phone number for her own safety so that Campbell wouldn’t have a way to contact her.
“It seemed common sense,” Royall says, adding. “It was about terminating, ending, what had happened.”
Royall describes the scene when John Doe, Jane’s father, came to ESD on Jan. 27.
“I told him, ‘[Mr. Doe], this is not going to work out after all for Jane to be at the school,'” Royall says on the stand.
Royall says the credible student reports of Jane gossiping as well as a number of calls to the front desk about Campbell and Jane were the motivating factors behind the decision to remove her.
The father’s response, according to Royall, was not surprise. Royall says he told her that his therapist had said this was probably going to happen.
Royall says the father then asked her for advice, and she suggested several options to continue Jane’s education.
As she was naming schools on the stand, Jane’s father, who is sitting in on the court proceedings, looked incredulous.
Royall says the urgent timeline for Jane’s withdrawal was for her own good since colleges look at the second semester of junior year as pivotal and leaving mid-semester might raise negative suspicions.
Royall says she presented the father with the withdrawal letter and option “in a positive way.”
The only negative interaction in the meeting, Royall asserts, was when John called his wife, who Royall says was hysterical, “making all kinds of noise,” and was “too angry to talk.”
“We never, not once, threatened Mr. Doe,” Royall says.
The jury looks wholly uninterested. Several are staring out into space, others are playing with their hair.
Royall says she saw the “wedding ring incident” as a cry for help.
“It seemed desperate,” she says. “It really, really concerned me that Jane would do that.”
Royall says she believes Jane has moved on positively from the whole ordeal.
“I think there’s been some healing,” Royall says.
Pass witness. Cross examination will begin after lunch recess at 1:45 p.m.
Aldous asks Royall if she’s telling the jury she doesn’t know if Nathan Campbell sexually abused Jane.
Royall says no, which prompts Aldous to play a clip from Royall’s video deposition. In it, Royall answers “No, I don’t” to the same question.
Aldous then asks Royall if she has any hopes for the outcome in Campbell’s criminal trial.
“I hope that justice is served,” Royall says.
Aldous then plays a clip from the video deposition that shows at that time, Royall answered that she didn’t have any feelings “one way or the other” about the outcome in Campbell’s criminal trial.
Back to report card issue. Aldous shows the transcript from Royall’s testimony on Aug.9 never mentioned “hindsight” or “retrospect” when she agreed that Campbell’s comments would have been a red flag, as suggested by Aldous.
Campbell’s cell phone bill is back up on the screen. Now Aldous shows he texted Jane 70 times during school hours on a Friday.
“That shows you teachers are using school property to inappropriately contact students, doesn’t it?” Aldous asks.
“Correct,” Royall says.
The cell phone bill shows a due date of Dec. 7, 2009 and a billing period from Oct. 15 to Nov. 12, 2009. ESD has previously stated it didn’t receive a bill for Campbell’s cell phone (which was purchased on Oct. 15) until January.
Royall says she can’t explain why this bill is dated before Campbell was caught.
The bill is for $222.79, which represents a good bit of overage charges. The basic service plan was $97.99
Royall testified this morning that the bill was found in Campbell’s office after he resigned.
“If the bill was addressed to ESD, can you explain why it was found in Campbell’s office?” Aldous asks.
“No, ma’am, I cannot,” Royall says.
Aldous shows Jane’s learning plan from ESD is dated Jan. 21, 2010, and is marked as an “initial” plan.
Royall says she believes there is another plan that predates that one, but she doesn’t know where it is.
Aldous asks Royall if she was qualified to say that expelling Jane was in her best “emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.”
Royall says she never said that.
Aldous references her previous testimony to show she did agree with that statement unequivocally.
“Did you ever ask a mental health professional about the impact of telling a sexual abuse victim to keep quiet?” Aldous asks.
Royall says no, and adds that Jane’s therapist never contacted ESD.
“Do you think when you expelled the child, it brought a little attention to her?” Aldous asks.
“I think there was already a lot of attention on her,” Royall says, prompting Aldous to ask the question again, to which Royall finally answers, “I don’t know.”
Aldous asks Royall about the allegation that she made during the pre-lunch testimony that Jane’s father asked her if Campbell had ever taken his “trousers” off.
“I thought it was odd, too, but he did [ask her that],” Royall says.
Aldous asks Royall if she knew that Jane’s therapist recommended not changing her cell phone number because it would draw attention to her.
Royall says she didn’t know that.
Aldous asks Royall if she’s ever heard of the “standard of care one owes oneself” that was referenced by Dr. David Thompson yesterday.
She says she has not.
“I’m a Ms., and he’s a Dr.,” Royall says. “I have not heard of it.”
Aldous asks Royall if she believes, as Thompson said he did, that Jane was negligent because she hid her own sexual abuse.
“I don’t know about that word ‘negligent.’ It sounds legal to me,” Royall says.
Aldous uses Royall’s video deposition to show she’s changed her position on the definition and ramification of expulsion from ESD.
In court, Royall has said that expulsion wouldn’t have gone on any document outside of internal ESD records. In her video deposition, she said expulsion would be represented on the record that is sent out to other schools.
“Expulsion, to me, would mean something awful for the student to be on her record,” Royall said in her deposition.
On the stand, Royall says she told Jane’s father “in a very kind way” that if he withdrew her, she’d have the benefit of letters of recommendation and that negative statements were never made.
Aldous shows a clip of Royall’s video deposition where she says if Jane had been expelled “there’d be no teacher recommendations.”
Aldous asks Royall if she’s aware Jane’s former coach has withdrawn her own children from ESD.
Royall says she’s not aware of this.
Aldous asks Royall if as the No. 2 person at ESD, she’d expect to hear about student complaints of teacher sexual harassment.
“Not necessarily,” Royall says.
“Is sexual abuse something the second in command at ESD should know about?” Aldous asks.
“I did know about Jane,” Royall says, prompting Aldous to ask her specific question again.
“Probably,” Royall says.
Aldous asks if the repeated sexual harassment of female students by teachers at ESD would be a big deal.
“If it happened, it would be a big deal,” Royall says.
“If a father reported to Stephen Swann that his daughter had been sexually harassed by a teacher, and in response, Swann said, ‘if you complain about this, I’m going to expel her,’ Do you think that’d be appropriate?” Aldous asks.
“I don’t know, Ms. Aldous,” Royall says. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Castaneda has no further questions, and Royall is excused.
Dr. Rycke Marshall takes the stand as an expert witness for ESD. Marshall is a clinical psychologist and a forensic psychologist (one who specializes in testifying).
Marshall says she has testified in 40 or 50 sexual assault/rape cases during her 35 years of experience.
Marshall says that individuals who are strong and resilient have a better chance of recovering from sexual assault.
Marshall says Jane’s relationship with Campbell developed over time and “became a very intense, almost obsessive relationship.”
She says it was illegal, inappropriate, and complicated, but from a psychological perspective it wasn’t assault because there was no physical force. The lack of force, and the fact that Jane was an adolescent and not a child, and the fact that she got into therapy early on reduces her risk of trauma.
Castaneda asks Marshall if she believes Campbell is a sex predator.
Marshall says that because she doesn’t have any evidence that he’s done this before, it’s not a pattern, and he’s not a predator.
Castaneda asks if Campbell is a pedophile.
Marshall says no, because Jane was 16 and pedophiles prey on prepubescent children.
Marshall says the way the relationship ended between Campbell and Jane was “very hard” for the girl.
“She had very complex and confusing feelings about him,” Marshall says.
Castaneda asks Marshall for her opinion regarding Jane’s separation from ESD.
Marshall says it was in Jane’s best interest “given the escalation of rumors, the hostility and unrest of other students,” and so Jane could get some distance and move past the relationship.
Marshall says it would’ve been helpful for Jane’s therapist to be involved in the decision to remove the girl from ESD, but the therapist would have needed to reach out to ESD first.
“I see it as important for schools to stay out of people’s therapy,” she says.
Marshall says that by removing Jane from ESD, the school helped her avoid secondary victimization by her peers.
Marshall says that while the immediate impact of being separated from the school was difficult, Jane was able to “maintain a high level of functioning.”
“She weathered that initial storm and settled in admirably,” Marshall says.
Aldous will cross-examine Marshall next week, because ESD needs to do an offer of proof on “Mary Smith,” Jane’s former best friend.
Mary, 17, takes the stand. She says Jane asked her to go see if Sara Campbell was wearing her wedding ring in January 2010.
She also says Jane asked her to go check on various aspects of Sara’s appearance prior to this.
“She kind of saw Mrs. Campbell as her competition,” Mary says.
Mary recounts that Jane was excited the first time she held Nathan Campbell’s hand. Mary says Jane told her about the relationship in real time as it developed. She says Jane called her the day the two first had sex in August. Mary says while Jane seemed upset at first, by the time Mary went to go see her, she “had pulled her act together.”
Mary recalls being at the Does home during the summer when Jane’s sister brought up a suspicion that Jane had been texting Nathan Campbell. Mary recalled Jane’s mother confronting her, and Jane denying it.
Jane asked Mary to keep the relationship quiet, and Mary complied because she says she “was a little afraid of her.”
“I didn’t want her to start rumors about me,” Mary says on the stand. “She had a reputation for not always being the best friend.”
Mary says Jane told her that she loved Nathan Campbell, and that they were making plans to get married after high school. Nathan would move to the area where Jane would go to college, and they’d tell everyone their relationship started there, Mary says.
Regarding Jane’s expulsion, Mary says she agreed with it.
“I think it was good for her to leave so she wouldn’t have a constant reminder of what happened,” she says. “For me it was a little bit easier not having her there as a constant reminder of having to know about it.”
ESD has represented that Mary sought therapy for her own issues related to Jane’s relationship with Nathan Campbell.
Mary says her friendship with Jane ended during Christmas break of 2009-2010. Jane was expelled Jan. 27, after Mary alleged that Jane asked her to go see if Sara Campbell was wearing a wedding ring. Two teachers also made similar reports.
Benson says she will take the testimony under advisement. (Read: She’s not ruling on its admissibility today.)
Court is in recess until Tuesday.