Corruption At The Charter School

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #123Charter schools are funded with tax-payer money but managed privately.

They have more flexibility with curriculum, budget, and staffing. Charter Schools are NOT exempt from standard accounting practices.

BLOG POST #123: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case about an Executive Director of a Charter School.

Stealing From The Most Vulnerable

It was the Executive Director’s frequent deposits to purchase a total of $760,000 in life insurance annuities from a financial security company that eventually raised red flags at the company, and they reported the suspicious activity to the FBI, prompting an investigation.

The Executive Director was unable to explain how she was able to purchase the annuities. Her personal income couldn’t justify the large amount.

The state revoked the school’s charter and ordered the school to close. Approximately 140 elementary-aged disadvantaged children were attending the charter school at the time it closed the doors permanently.

The Outcome Could Have Been Much Worse

Technically, what she did was money laundering which would have given her a longer sentence. Instead, she was charged with two counts of embezzling federal property. One count for the USDA, Department of Agriculture money (school lunch program) and one count for the DOE, Department of Education money (Title I, Title II, and IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

At her trial, evidence showed from 2007 – 2013, she transferred $1.56 million in federal government funds from the school’s bank account to shell companies she created and controlled.

She was supposed to help children who were needy children, who had a lot to gain from a good education,” the U.S. Judge said just before pronouncing her sentence.

Her Career In Education Is Over

The former Executive Director was found guilty on both embezzlement charges and was sentenced to 42 months in a federal prison and ordered to pay over $1.5 million in restitution.

The court ordered her to pay $954,662.61 to the USDA and $607,271.58 to the DOE. And she was ordered to forfeit over $750,000 in life insurance annuities as well as her share in a house she owned.

Worth mentioning: The former Executive Director filed an appeal contending that the government failed to show the $1.56 million she embezzled belonged to the federal government. She argued that, because the money from state and federal sources was commingled in one undifferentiated account, the government could not show that the money she took was federal, as opposed to purely state, money. Her appeal was denied.

What do you think about this case? Your relevant comments about this post or any of the other posts are always welcome on the website.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for spending part of your day or evening reading this post and for caring about children!

-Robin

Link to Amazon  MAC: A Prequel Novella

Find out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Middle School Manipulator

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

When a parent sends their child to school they expect a quality education, they also expect and should demand their child will be safe while there.

Pedophiles are good manipulators. They have honed their skill to recognize a child’s vulnerabilities and then overcompensate to address those weaknesses as part of the grooming process.

BLOG POST #122: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a Middle School Social Studies Teacher and two students.

Criminal Behavior

After the 31-year-old teacher and his 13-year-old student had been in a sexual relationship for more than one year, the girl told her parents.

He worked for the school district not quite three years before the police arrested him at the middle school and confiscated his cell phone. Next stop was a search of the teacher’s home and computer.

Bold Request

Law enforcement learned through the investigation, he’d sent the girls, (the 13-year-old and a 14-year-old) sexual texts and naked pictures of himself. And he asked the girls to send him naked pictures of themselves, which they did.

The county assistant prosecutor said, “People have to send their kids to school; they have no choice. They trust that teachers will protect their children. They never expect a teacher is the one they should have feared the most.”

When the former teacher pleaded guilty to sexual battery, he admitted that he’d taken the 13-year-old girl to his house and engaged in sexual conduct with her.

The former teacher resigned his position and the Department of Education permanently revoked his teaching license.

Let’s Make A Deal

He accepted a plea agreement and was found guilty of one count of sexual battery, 22 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, seven counts of importuning, six counts of endangering children and one count of possessing criminal tools.

Importuning is sending text messages or e-mails asking someone to perform a sexual act.

At his sentencing, the former teacher said to the judge, “I’m begging you to give me a second chance at life.”

Life: Not Life

Originally the court sentenced the former teacher to a total of 93 years in prison. Then there was an order to vacate his endangering children conviction and sentence.

The sentencing judge replied to the former teacher, “I don’t mean to disappoint you, but I will not be giving you a second chance.”

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to be involved in a criminal court case, then you know criminal cases are in and out of court frequently, appealing this or that.

Rather than just resentence for the endangering children conviction, the court conducted a De novo resentenced on all counts, lowering the total sentence to 21-years and $1.25 million in restitution.

A De novo sentencing is a judicial review that will be conducted as if prior proceedings had never taken place.

He was labeled a Tier III sex offender, the most serious classification. He must register his home and work address with the County sheriff every 90 days for the remainder of his life.

As of this posting, he’s scheduled to be released from prison in 2031, when he’s 52.

Worth mentioning: The former teacher filed another appeal arguing his attorney was ineffective for not  contesting that the nude photos were protected speech under the First Amendment and could not be used as the basis for conviction. The court denied his appeal.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Gunslinger At The Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

School violence, when it takes a deadly turn, is hard to comprehend. For as long as there have been schools, there have been fights between students. But school violence now happens far too frequent.

BLOG POST #121: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving middle school students.

Because it was an intensely cold winter morning, the middle school started two hours late.

Better To Have Stayed Home

The 14-year-old student skipped his morning classes to prepare for his afternoon assault.

Before leaving for school, he armed himself with his father’s fully loaded weapons; rifle, revolver and semiautomatic pistol. He strapped to his chest and waist three belts of additional ammunition and packed a speed loader for the revolver.

He removed the inside pocket on a long black trench coat to conceal the rifle as he walked to school. The news reported he looked like a gunslinger.

Armed and ready, he entered his fifth-period algebra class and shot his intended target, a classmate who did not survive. It’s unknown why he targeted this boy.

The next two victims, two more classmates, were shot as they dropped to the floor to crawl under their desks, one survived with extensive injuries.

When the teacher cried out, “No, no,” he shot her as well, she also did not survive.

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche

Upon hearing the gunshots, a P.E. Teacher ran into the classroom. He dove toward the injured teacher. The shooter told the P.E. Teacher to stand up, or he would shoot another student. He did and then talked the shooter into allowing a few students to assist the injured teacher out of the classroom along with a diabetic student.

The student who survived went on to become involved in Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

Nowhere To Run

Police tried to hostage negotiate with the shooter which resulted in escalating his agitation.

Deciding he needed coverage in case there were snipers he told the P.E. Teacher to stand near him and put the end of the rifle in his mouth. When the heroic teacher appeared to comply, the shooter wasn’t expecting the teacher to grab the gun and pin him against the wall. He then told the students to run.

The police stormed the classroom and handcuffed the shooter.

Juvenile Or Adult?

The shooter’s case was sent to adult court, where he pleaded insanity.

At the trial, the defense team had an expert testify the shooter suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. The prosecution also had an expert testify he suffered from dysthymic disorder, hyperactivity, and clinical depression. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.

The 14-year-old troubled boy was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, and 16 counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Without Parole: With Parole

He was sentenced to serve two life sentences plus an additional 205 years without the possibility of parole.

However, in 2012, a U.S. Supreme Court ruled people younger than 16 could not receive life sentences without parole. Twenty-one years after the shooting, a judge resentenced him to 189 years.

Worth mentioning: Juvenile court makes a decision to keep a case or move a case to adult court based on the best interest of the juvenile or the public, and taking into account eight standards set out in Kent v. the United States also known as the ‘Kent Factors.’

(1) The seriousness of the charged offense and whether protection of the community requires prosecution in adult court.

(2) Whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner.

(3) Whether the offense was against persons or property.

(4) The prosecutive merit of the case.

(5) Whether the defendant had an adult accomplice.

(6) The defendant’s sophistication and maturity.

(7) The defendant’s prior record.

(8) The prospects for adequate protection of the public and rehabilitation of the juvenile in the juvenile system.

My heart goes out to all families who have suffered because of school violence. And my sincere condolences go to those who have lost a loved one.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

The 44-Year-Old Teacher And Her 13-Year-Old Student

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #115Hello! Thank you for your continued interest in my research. This week, you may be surprised that the teacher involved in the sex crime case is a woman. Male sexual predators overwhelmingly outnumber females in sex crime cases involving children. But there are female sexual predators as in this week’s case.

BLOG POST #115: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a Special Education Teacher and her seventh-grade student.

The Teacher’s Lewd Behavior

The middle school special education teacher had been with the district for close to twenty years when she ended her career and essentially her life after initiated a sexual relationship with one of her seventh-grade students.

The ‘affair’ may have continued for longer than one month had the teacher and student not been parked in a dark corner of a public park a little after midnight when sheriff’s deputies were checking the park for suspicious behavior.

There’s No Turning Back

Following the teacher’s arrest, the school placed her on administrative leave. After posting bail and being released from jail, she resigned from her teaching position.

The county school superintendent said, “When we have an allegation like this it is a shock to parents, it’s a shock to students, it’s a shock to us as administrators, to the whole profession.”

In the student’s testimony, he said his teacher was sexually aggressive with him when she drove him home after he’d hung out at her house on Halloween.

The victim also stated during their one-month ‘affair,’ they’d had sex at the teacher’s home, in her car, and at hunting property belonging to her in-laws after riding four-wheelers.

Judged By A Jury Of Your Peers

It took the jury six hours to find the ex-school teacher guilty of aggravated child molestation, child molestation, statutory rape and sexual assault on a person in custody, all felonies.

In court, the county prosecutor said, “One of our trusted teachers was willing to cross the line with a student.”

No Winners

School counselors and administrators met with students to discuss the matter.

The Superior Court Judge sentenced her to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years before she’d be eligible for parole. After her release from prison, she’ll be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of her life.

The judge also prohibited her from any contact with minors other than her children.

She began serving her prison sentence in 2013, at the age of 45.

Worth Mentioning: She petitioned the court for a new trial based on inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony and because the prosecution only played portions of the victim’s interview tapes. Her petitions were denied in 2015 and 2016.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

The Teacher On A Downward Spiral Of Addiction

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #109

When a school employee or other public service employee is arrested for illegal activities most people are disappointed and shocked. I know I continue to be saddened by the cases I research. If only there were a way to vet applicants so as to hire the very best.

Thank you for taking time from your busy life to read and learn about school news that often doesn’t make ‘the news.’

BLOG POST #112: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a high school special education teacher.

I’ve never known a heroin addict. After researching this case, I wondered…Was his drug use not noticeable?

And Then There Was One

A student found a syringe on the restroom floor. He gave the syringe to a teacher’s aide. The school notified local authorities and a criminal investigation ensued.

At the beginning of the investigation, there were three teachers under suspicion. It was when the  K-9 narcotics officer began searching the school and detected drugs in the teacher’s backpack that he became the single suspect.

He was in his mid-30s and taught special education at the high school level.

The Dog Knows

His backpack which was in the classroom, on the floor next to his desk.

Officers found in the backpack, 125 packets of heroin, syringes, pills, and other paraphernalia.

Under arrest and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, he never returned to the classroom.

The judge didn’t believe the personal use admission and said to the teacher, “That’s a tremendous amount of narcotics in your possession, in your classroom, in your bag, right by your desk.”

He denied selling narcotics but admitted to being a heroin addict and claimed all the heroin in his possession was for personal use.

Was The Sentence Appropriate?

There wasn’t enough evidence to prove distribution. The ex-teacher accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a controlled and dangerous substance.

The court sentenced no jail time; instead, he’ll serve four years of probation, 100 hours of community service and undergo regular drug testing.

Eight years after issuance, he relinquished his teaching certificates and began working in a hotel restaurant.

The judge commended the student who found the syringe as, “Bright and responsible.”

If you found this case interesting, you’ll also want to read a similar case: Chasing the Dragon

What do you think about this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon