Internal Investigation: Tate Sexual Assault Case Was Handled Properly

March 25, 2011

An internal probe by the Escambia County School District says school officials acted properly and timely when reporting an alleged March 1 sexual assault  at Tate High School.

According to a memo released by Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, the internal investigation concluded:

  • School officials did report the incident to law enforcement in an appropriate and timely manner.
  • Law enforcement received the full cooperation of school officials.
  • There is a need for additional training for school district personnel in the areas of evidence collection and statutes pertaining to age of students involved in special victim criminal offenses.

Raymond Eugene Teamer, 16, is charged with exposing himself and sexually assaulting a 14-year old student in a classroom of students about 11:30 a.m. on March 1. Teamer remains in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice awaiting trail on April 13. The teacher, Pam Saxton, told investigators that she did not see what happened in her reading classroom.

The report by John Dobbs, the school district’s investigator, found that the incident was reported the morning of March 2 to the Tate school resource officer (SRO), a deputy with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office assigned to campus.  Sheriff David Morgan, speaking to NorthEscambia.com and other media outlets, has contended that the Sheriff’s Office was not notified of the incident until March 4 — three days later.

Dobbs initiated his investigator March 17 at the request of Thomas. The investigation found that:

  • Tate High officials did not delay notification to law enforcement, reporting the incident to the SRO on duty on early on March 2. “The SRO indicated he would collect available investigative data and file his report upon his return to the Tate campus on Friday.”
  • The SRO filed his report on March 4, using the investigative results of the school district.
  • No district policies or laws were broken regarding the reporting of the incident.
  • Tate High School has two SRO. One, Officer Small, was assigned patrol road duty the school day of March 3 before returning to school and filing the report on March 4. Officer Singletary was on patrol road duty on March 2.
  • Officer Small  “was counseled for inadequate documentation in the report filed with ECSO. All information used in the preparation of this ECSO report was drawn from the District
    investigation documentation and comprised all available information related to the incident at the time of the ECSO report”.
  • “The communication and cooperation between the SRO and Tate was superb after the discovery of the incident and identification of involved parties.”
  • During the incident, the teacher was “involved in the direct instruction of three groups of students”. There were 20 students in the class, one group at the teacher’s table undergoing direct instruction, a second group using computer-based instruction, and a third in independent reading instruction. The report states the incident occurred among the students using computers while the teacher was instructing another group of students.
  • “It is reasonable to believe the teacher’s view of the unlawful incident could be unintentionally and partially obscured by seated students under direct instruction,” the report states.
  • “There is no indication the teacher had any  knowledge of this incident, or that students intentionally blocked the teacher’s view at this time. The lack of immediate notification by any student of the incident to the teacher leads to a reasonable belief that knowledge of the incident was intentionally withheld from the teacher and later the investigating Tate staff member.”
  • During the first investigation by Tate High School Staff, all students interviewed denied observing or participating in any inappropriate or unlawful behavior. After additional
    information was received by Tate officials and a second series of interviews was conducted by Tate Staff, the students who were involved or adjacent to the incident indicated the incident did occur. There is no indication that all students in the class had knowledge and withheld that information, however, several students intentionally withheld information during the first investigation.
  • “There is no indication at this time that any district employee violated any policy, procedure or law in the immediate response by Tate High School Staff to this unlawful incident.”

To read the complete memo and report, click here.

Comments

20 Responses to “Internal Investigation: Tate Sexual Assault Case Was Handled Properly”

  1. David Huie Green on March 26th, 2011 4:32 pm

    Some are very poor readers as evidenced by some of what we see here.

  2. Steve on March 26th, 2011 2:31 pm

    Did I read the article correctly? A READING class in high school?

    I’m curious. Granted, I’ve been out of school for almost 40% of a century but if memory serves we learned to read in first grade. Later, I found that kids today learn to read in K and pre-K grades. They use computer labs by 4th grade.

    So, what is the deal here?

  3. David Huie Green on March 26th, 2011 11:51 am

    REGARDING:
    “People seem to be getting off topic here. This thread is about Tate’s inability to report a sexual crime of a minor and the Superintendents office trying to save face so there isn’t a big fallout from it.”

    Not exactly off topic. The school district presented its take on the matter and others are discussing whether or not they accept that take. That kids found a way to misbehave without being caught at the time is not new. The report pointed out that the misbehavior was of brief duration, so not seeing it at the time is not the same thing as if it took place over a 20 minute time period with lots of moaning and groaning.

    It’s interesting that the school didn’t realize it would’ve been a crime even if it HAD been consensual, even less likely than the many commenters who still don’t understand that fact along with the ones who‘re just mad their Boo got in trouble. To say, “we followed protocol” when the protocol has flaws is little comfort. With any luck, officials will understand in the future and respond more properly.

    Besides, if the superintendent’s only goal were to save face, he could throw an underling under the bus and blame everything on that one, just as some want to blame the teacher for not being omniscient.

    Those who “know” what the teacher should’ve done probably don’t know what she actually did in the first place. I know I don’t know.

    David for perfect people and systems

  4. me on March 26th, 2011 11:18 am

    I agree , the school should have reported it as soon as they were aware. It does sound like someone is trying to cover their own tail. After all when the dean was questioned about it he refused to speak to the Sheriff”s department. That sounds like someone was trying to hide something. The school board is just trying to help them as well!

  5. bjay on March 26th, 2011 3:32 am

    People seem to be getting off topic here. This thread is about Tate’s inability to report a sexual crime of a minor and the Superintendants office trying to save face so there isnt a big fallout from it. Whether its bad parenting or just bad kids doesnt matter here. There have been several other articles for that debate. But since the teacher was brought up I have a question. She claims to have been working with other “groups” of children. Maybe she should have been teaching the class and not just some group. Obviously there was some kind of noises or kids moving around that should triggered her brain to see what was going on. No excuses for this teacher or for the school. Heck there was a “Tate teacher” posting on here during school hours along with some students. Good job Tate for keeping things under control around there.

  6. wharf rat on March 25th, 2011 7:15 pm

    To quote “Pogo”, in so many words, “we have met the enemy” and it sure is NOT us, “the school board.”

  7. molino jim on March 25th, 2011 4:31 pm

    AS THE FOX LEFT THE HEN HOUSE—HE SAID “I CHECKED AND EVERYTHING WAS OK”. GOOD JOB OF COVERING THEIR BACK SIDE.

  8. atmore on March 25th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Ok suppose the teacher really was “involved with helping other students with something” or whatever I still dont see how out of 20 people, someone didnt make a noise or get the teachers attention somehow…It just doesn’t make much sense, Not saying it’s the teachers fault, honestly I think if the teacher couldn’t see the students and didn’t hear anything…some of the students other than the 1 that actually done wrong should be held accountable as well..You know, kind of the aiding and abedding a criminal type thing. Someone should have spoken up for this girl and I believe justice will be served, I just hope i’m right!

  9. lynn Stone on March 25th, 2011 2:42 pm

    I think Tate is a wonderful school. My children are Honor Roll students there and I’m a Proud Tate Aggie parent. Here’s an idea why don’t you Parents out there start training your children at home on how to behave and we won’t have this type of stuff going on at our schools. Stop blaming the schools and everybody else its YOUR JOB to train your children!! Start today!

  10. just call me joe on March 25th, 2011 1:14 pm

    Back when I was in school, the biggest trouble anybody ever got into was for chewing gum or throwing paper or spit balls and kids were actually afraid of getting into trouble and getting sent to the office.

  11. robert on March 25th, 2011 11:14 am

    School officials are just a figure head now. they can’t even paddle a kid with out a parents permission and it’s not likely to get that permission because the parents won’t do it themselves. the way i look at it is what was good for me is good for my kids. When i was in schoo; i didn’t get in trouble at school because of fear of what they could do it was what my Daddy was going to do when i got home is what scared the crap out of me. There just isn’t enough parents out jere now that are willing to punish there kids accordingly. I have three kids in school and i promise the school will have no complaints from me if they need a paddleing at school they better get it cause they are definitely gone get it again when they get home. WHAT’S WAS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER

  12. Jean Barnes on March 25th, 2011 9:44 am

    If by appropriately notifying authorities means they haphazardly mentioned they are investigating a tip about an incident that may have happened,
    then, yes… they did appropriately notify authorities.

    Do you think a verbal notification is appropriate for something this serious? What about less serious? Does it matter? Serious or not, notifications should always be backed up in written form.

    Only a written notification could stand up as proof in a timeline situation of this magnitude. And, yes, time does matter. It matters a whole lot when dealing with young witnesses.

    There has got to be more changes made in the school system than what was mentioned in their report. However, THIS is what we get when a system is permitted to investigate itself.

    Remember folks, these are the same people rubbing elbows Monday through Friday.

  13. I want a grand jury investigation on March 25th, 2011 9:35 am

    I want this investigated properly…. do you?

    It’s super easy and only takes a moment of your time.

    Email or call State Attorney Bill Eddins and request a grand jury investigation into the Tate incident:

    Phone: 850-595-4200
    Fax: 850-595-4212

    Email for his Executive Secretary: kisha_murphy@sa01.org

    or write to
    Office of State Attorney
    Bill Eddins *Grand Jury Request
    190 Governmental Center
    Pensacola, FL 32501

  14. AC on March 25th, 2011 9:33 am

    +1 to Old School!
    I went to a different school than you, but it was the same way. 30-40 kids in a classroom and the teacher knew who was talking, who was chewing gum, who was looking at other’s papers, etc. And EVERY teacher was like that, not just one or two. God forbid that a student actually expose himself in class, or try to force another student to perform a sex act on him! Of course that was before the “No Child Left Behind” crap that puts every classroom at a disadvantage. But there were still the bad kids, the smart kids, the trouble-makers, in almost every classroom to some degree. When we got caught doing wrong we were paddled at school by the teacher or principal, and got another when our parents found out. There was morning devotional prayer every morning on the intercom. Then a few bleeding hearts decided that was bad and changed everything, Now, here we are.

  15. george on March 25th, 2011 8:40 am

    the time when you had people like mr showwalter running a school are long gone, as are parents that backed people like him.

  16. Tate Mom on March 25th, 2011 8:20 am

    Did we really expect the school district find itself guilty? “Old School,” I do remember Mr. Showalter! No way this could have happened back then.

  17. meemee on March 25th, 2011 6:54 am

    if that had been my grand daughter that happen to omg some one would be accountable that all i can say……..

  18. What Did You Think They'd Say on March 25th, 2011 5:55 am

    When the district is getting ready to get its pants sued off by the victim’s family because the school suspended the girl and she’s the victim…. Yea, I’d say that everything was done correct too, but how can that be the case in reality.

  19. Old School on March 25th, 2011 5:45 am

    20 students??? 20 students??? The teacher should be fired! It’s the teacher’s job to know what’s going on with every student in his/her classroom. With 20 students it shoud be EXTRA easy to know! Teachers tend to look the other way too often now-a-days – probably out of fear or they just don’t care.

    Back when I was in school the teachers handled 30 to 40 kids in a class….with no aides nor cops on property. Even the rowdy kids were quiet. And believe you me, they knew what kid cut their eyes to whose desk, or who passed a note when their backs were turned. Mrs. Gancel even knew who sighed when her back was turned. And we were all in fear of being sent to the principle’s office. Anyone remember Mr. Showalter???

    Parents should be up-in-arms about this lacky teacher!

  20. huh on March 25th, 2011 3:31 am

    The school district finding itself innocent LOL





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