Tag Archives: Good Parenting

Mistrial in Child Sexual Assault case against ex-Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland

 

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Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland appeared in a Denton County Court on Monday to respond to charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a child

Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland appeared in a Denton County Court on Monday to respond to charges

DENTON, TX  –  A Denton County judge on Friday declared a mistrial in the child sexual assault case against John Wetteland, a former Texas Rangers player who is accused of molesting a boy three times more than a decade ago.

The jury told the judge three times that it was split.  At one point, the judge said she heard loud arguing coming from the deliberation room.

Wetteland, who testified in his defense during the trial last week, faced three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  He played for the Rangers from 1997 to 2000, as well as for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, and is in the Rangers’ Hall of Fame.

At 4:40 p.m., the jury sent its third note to the judge.  It said it was deadlocked and some jurors were “unwilling to budge.”  The jurors asked how long they were expected to deliberate.  Some were concerned about child care.

Judge Lee Ann Breading had pressed the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict.  But after questioning the jury about 5 p.m., she declared a mistrial.

Wetteland, 56, faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted.  It was unclear Friday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial.  Defense attorneys declined to comment.

Since Tuesday, jurors in 462nd District Court heard from the accuser, Wetteland and other witnesses.

According to authorities, Wetteland sexually assaulted the child three times between 2004 and 2006, starting when the child was 4 years old.  Wetteland pleaded not guilty and said the accuser’s account of sexual abuse is a lie.

According to the accuser’s mother, he first told her in 2016 — when he was 16 — that Wetteland raped him as a child.  She said she did not report the allegation to police.  In his testimony, the accuser said he did not want to report the abuse and wanted an apology from Wetteland, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The accuser testified on Tuesday.  He said he looked up to Wetteland and wanted to please him.  The first time Wetteland sexually abused him, he said, he was confused.  The abuse impacted him deeply into his teenage years, he testified, causing incontinence, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

When the boy was 18, his mother testified, she told him to write a letter about the abuse and planned to send it to people connected with Wetteland.

On Wednesday, Argyle school district’s former chief of police read the letter to the jury. The letter, which the accuser wrote in Google Docs, detailed allegations that Wetteland sexually assaulted him in a shower.

According to prosecutor Lindsey Sheguit, the document was saved on the Argygle school Google account, and the school district’s monitoring system flagged it.  Employees discovered the letter, the school district’s chief technology officer testified Wednesday, and reported it to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

On cross examination from Derek Adame, one of Wetteland’s defense attorneys, the technology officer testified that the district could not know who wrote the letter, only that it was written on the accuser’s account.  Adame and defense attorney Caroline Simone argue the abuse allegations are not true and were possibly fabricated by a man named Chris.  Chris is not biologically related to the accuser but lived with him when the accuser was a teenager.

Three members of the Wetteland family testified that they also believe Chris instructed the accuser to write the letter, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.  They described Chris as aggressive and jealous of Wetteland.

A grand jury indicted Wetteland, who lives in Trophy Club, in 2019. Bartonville police have said DFPS contacted the department about the case on Jan. 9, 2019.

AS TRUSTED ADULT TEACHER SHOULD NEVER HAVE RECEIVED CHEAPEST BOND

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Victor Hugo Moreno, 28-years-old

Irving teacher molested 7-year-old girl, then went to teach in another school, police say

IRVING, TX  –  A former Irving elementary school teacher has been arrested and accused of molesting one of his students in the second grade during the 2020-21 school year, Irving police said Thursday.

Irving police believe other students may have been sexually abused by the teacher.

Police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Victor Hugo Moreno, who was arrested last week and was released from jail after posting a $15,000 bond.

He faces charges of continuous sex abuse of a young child and improper relationship between student and educator, Irving police said.

The 28-year-old former teacher is accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl who was in the second grade at Townsell Elementary in Irving. Moreno was her teacher.

Irving school district officials received an outcry in the spring semester of the 2021-22 school year.

Moreno resigned from the Irving school district at the end of the 2020-21 school year after failing to meet his certification requirements, Irving police said.

Moreno taught in the Plano school district during the 2021-22 school year and was fired because of a code of conduct violation, police said.

School and police officials are encouraging anyone whose whose child could have interacted with Moreno in the Irving and Plano school districts to talk with their children, family members, and friends to make them aware of Moreno.

If you know of a victim or are a victim, contact the Irving Police Department at 972-273-1010 or call your local police department, or dial 911.

IF I BUILT THE STATUE OF A REAL MAN – 2

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Fiancée of slain Arizona sailor held him as he died.

Young Navy sailor killed while protecting woman

MILWAUKEE, WI  –  Tragedy strikes on Mother’s Day.  A 19-year-old Navy sailor was killed in West Allis Sunday morning, May 8.  Phoenix Castanon is usually the first sibling to tell his mom “Happy Mother’s Day.”  This year he didn’t get a chance to call her.

He was shot to death near 84th and Rogers around 2:40 a.m.

“He had a heart of gold, he was a protector,” Tiata Nez-Dunklin said.  She is Castanon’s mother.

Protecting was what he was doing the night he was murdered.

West Allis police say Castanon was hanging out with a few friends.  One of the women was harassed by a man in a car while she was walking down 84th Street.  She was scared and ran to the car Castanon was sitting in at the time.  He got out and approached the man.  The two exchanged words.  The man pulled out a gun and shot Castanon.

I’m proud of him, that’s how we raised him, defend the weak.  He’s my hero.”

Fiancée of slain Arizona sailor held him as he died.

Castanon is originally from Arizona.  He was stationed in Great Lakes, Illinois.  Castanon was at the end of his training to become a Gunner’s Mate.  That goal was ripped away.

‘I’m mad at the world for being the way it is,” Nez-Dunklin said.

West Allis police say the shooter is still out there.  Anyone with helpful information should call police at 414-302-8019

WHEN RACE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE SAFETY OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

The Great Divide
9 takeaways from Boston’s investigation into Mission Hill School; DA reviewing

SUFFOLK COUNTY, MA  –  A blistering investigation released this week revealed institutional failures that endangered children for years at Boston’s Mission Hill K-8 School, including overlooked reports of sexual abuse and bullying.

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden on Thursday said his office is reviewing the report for “any crimes or incidents where mandatory reporting of sexual assault allegations did or did not occur.”

The report spurred Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to take the extraordinary step of recommending the school’s closure at the end of the academic year in June.  The Boston School Committee will vote on the closure May 5.

“This is the stuff of nightmares,” Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday on GBH News, pledging accountability in BPS.

Many parents have continued to defend the school.

Here are nine key takeaways from the report:

1.  The school ‘systematically failed to protect students’ from sexual abuse, investigators found

The 189-page report by the law firm Hinckley Allen was sparked by complaints from parents that Mission Hill officials were ignoring their concerns about bullying, and separately, allegations by five families that one student had repeatedly sexually abused their children.

Investigators found the school “systematically failed to protect students” from sexual abuse by neglecting to document, investigate, or address allegations.  The school’s lacking response to sexual abuse allegations went far beyond a case in which BPS in August agreed to pay a $650,000 settlement to five Mission Hill families who said their six young children were repeatedly sexually abused by the same student and administrators failed to adequately act.

Investigators blamed much of the school’s problems on a former administrator they labeled “MH Admin 3.”  That administrator’s tenure coincided with Ayla Gavins, who served as principal for 12 years until summer 2019.  She did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The report details witnesses’ accounts of the principal’s response to the case of the student identified in court records as “A.J.,” who was accused in the families’ lawsuit of inappropriately touching fellow students and digitally penetrating one from 2014 to 2016.  Gavins told parents who complained they should “pull their kids out” and that A.J. “had a right to be” there, the report says.  A staffer recalled employees also voiced concerns that the student would be criminalized because he was Black, the report says.

The investigation found Mission Hill failed to complete official incident reports for at least 20 incidents of sexual misconduct allegations against A.J. and at least another 40 incidents of sexually inappropriate behaviors involving the school’s other students from 2013 to 2021.

The report says the failure to document sexual conduct was “an intentional by-product” of Gavins’s efforts to protect students of color.

2.  A ‘persistent and well-documented bullying problem’

Investigators concluded Mission Hill had a “persistent and well-documented bullying problem” that ballooned due to the school’s “hands-off attitude” which “taught students to protect themselves by being abusive.”

Mission Hill School’s failure to implement standard disciplinary procedures led to a rise in bullying that was “largely unaddressed” by Gavins, according to the report.  Investigators wrote that Gavins often paid “lip service” to handling serious bullying incidents.

Parents told investigators that Gavins avoided giving direct answers to safety questions and accused white parents of being racist or hostile when they advocated for their child’s safety.

3.  Special education failures

The school also failed to properly provide special education services due to its philosophy that “each child is special and learns at their own pace,” investigators found, leading to students’ learning challenges going unaddressed.

The report found that students with disabilities — who make up one-third of the school were likely failed in many ways, including the school’s practice of removing disruptive children for “what was effectively babysitting in another room.”

4.  BPS was aware of Mission Hill’s problems for years

Over the six years before the investigation, BPS received multiple complaints from parents and investigated several internally.  In 2015, BPS hired attorney Joseph Coffey to investigate allegations.  Coffey found Gavins failed to provide specialized instruction by special education teachers, allowed improper restraints of children, created a culture of intimidation, and asked staff to “misrepresent” the school’s English as a Second Language services, the report says.

From 2014 to 2017, the report says, BPS received numerous complaints reporting sexual misconduct at the school.  Coffey’s 2015 report cited concerns by a staff member who reported incidents involving A.J. in a staff meeting and recommended the student be evaluated, but Gavins allegedly refused due to concerns about Black boys being “over diagnosed” with disabilities.

In August, a parent told Cassellius that six employees in the superintendent’s office failed to act despite knowing that the school inadequately responded to reports of abuse, assaults, and bullying.

5.  Three key e-mail accounts deleted during investigation

The report suggested some school employees put their self-interests before that of children, including by using a separate e-mail server and deleting at least three key employee e-mail accounts while the school was under investigation.

6.  Cultural problems cited

Investigators said they found a “cult-like” climate at the academically struggling school, which espoused its philosophy as the unique “Mission Hill Way,” and an intolerance of dissent that ostracized employees and parents who voiced concerns.

7.  Retaliation concerns

Parents said staffers who raised concerns were fired or pressured to leave.  Several parents told investigators that the school fired an employee because the employee filed a “51A” report to the Department of Children and Families against A.J. in November 2014, which the parents felt disobeyed Gavins’s “view of keeping matters in-house,” the report says.

Although the employee reported leaving for other reasons, the employee also described being pushed out by Gavins and enduring a “pattern of hostility by [Gavins] and long-term teachers,” the report says.

8.  Academic failings

Investigators concluded that Mission Hill failed to provide rigorous academic instruction in math, writing, literacy, and science.

The school focused on literacy for marginalized students, but often didn’t recognize that students from all backgrounds struggled, investigators wrote.

9.  Gender-nonconforming students bullied

Investigators found the school fostered a culture that “allowed increased bias and discrimination” toward transgender and gender-nonconforming students.  One parent told investigators the school “allowed a culture” where transgender students were beaten up in the bathroom.  Investigators wrote they found evidence Gavins “showed an unwillingness” to address concerns raised about these students.

The Great Divide is an investigative team that explores educational inequality in Boston and statewideSign up to receive our newsletter, and send ideas and tips to thegreatdivide@globe.com.

THE SECRET PASSWORD

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Our Children are in danger every minute of every day!

Protect Your Children From Predators:
The Secret Password –
Please Pass It Forward!

By: Kait King

I am very proud to introduce Ms Kait King, a True Writer Extraordinaire.

I don’t mind telling everyone that I have been Blessed every way possible, since starting that little one page gift to Google+ and all it’s users very near 8 years ago, and Ms Kate King is one of those Blessings, a very Large Blessing to be exact.

Unlike all the times I have shared this, apparently the whole original story is no longer available on Ms King’s site, The Writer’s Blogk, but please go there and read Ms King’s work!  THANK YOU SO MUCH Ms Kait King!

I met Ms King shortly after I opened our website.  I can tell you what I remember from back then: Ms King was a very good writer, and well educated.  But I was glad that I wasn’t standing in front of her, because I was humbled to tears.  This very special Lady was as good a Parent and Mother, as any that has ever walked this earth…  and I stand by my words today.  There was only one thing that struck me as odd, she was working on a project with the name of “The 3 Pigs”.

Thank You all for reading, and when you are finished reading this unforgetable story, please do as Ms King wishes: Please Pass It On!
Robert StrongBow

A copy of a letter I sent to all of the primary schools to save children – simple and super effective!  Please pass it on

My son is 29 years old now and it has always amazed me at how many parents through those many years, and even now, who have no idea about the concept of the Secret Password.

I used to work as a National Intelligence Support Officer for the police.  I have had projects that have highlighted the danger our children are in while getting to and from school and this is an issue which is not going to go away.  I have a simple solution that may help to keep children safer than they are now.

My son was five and starting school, and with my background and experience I was very aware of the dangers of kerb crawlers and people who would snatch kids from off the street.  So I devised this password plan, my son picked the word – at the time he believed he was allergic to zucchinis’ as he detested them so much so that became our Secret Password.

This password meant that if I was unable to pick him up from school and had to send someone whom he was not familiar with, or a stranger altogether even, if they knew that Secret Password it was ok to get in the car and go with them.  If the person did not know the Secret Password my son was to drop his school backpack and run like the devil was after him, (which would be the case), straight back into the school grounds and to the principal’s office.

He only had to use this once, and because he did run, he is still here and I am not writing this letter to you out of a sad and broken story where the solution is all but too late.

But I write this out of a realisation that something so very simple could help to protect children, our children, for they are all of our children and we all need to be responsible for helping to keep them safe.  I hope you find some benefit in this little gem and hand it out to all parents and caregivers and tell all that you can please, so that this safety net is in place.  I thank you for your time to read this and thank you also, for teaching our children and caring for them.

With the most sincerest intent and with regards
Kait King, BA Crim.