Mentoring Troubled Youth

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

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

BLOG POST #171: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime that occurred a few years ago involving a high school Dean of Academy and a 17-year-old student.

New Job

The 50-something man was selected from a pool of about 50 applicants and had been with the high school serving as the Dean of Academy and family outreach coordinator for two months.

The newly hired Dean of Academy was known as a community organizer and youth minister in the area for decades nicknamed ‘Rev,’ a familiar face, often worked with police and helped gang members turn their lives around. 

The 17-year-old student—an at-risk teen—primarily raised by his grandmother because his mother was incarcerated didn’t trust ‘Rev’ at first but soon shared his personal struggles. Rather than help the boy, ‘Rev’ recruited him to sell marijuana.

Consequences

When the boy’s sales dropped ‘Rev’ arranged for the teen to be assaulted at school. After the assault, ‘Rev’ texted the teen to meet him near his home that evening.

As the two walked down the street, ‘Rev’ fell behind a few steps and shot the boy in the back of his head. ‘Rev’ was seen on surveillance video running away.

The Police Commissioner said at the time of his arrest, “This guy is probably the last person we would expect…He was an advocate for anti-violence.”

Lucky Not Lucky

Unfortunately for ‘Rev’ the boy lived and identified who’d shot him. Passersby saw the bleeding boy and called 911.

The bullet had entered the young man’s head under his right ear, missing his carotid artery, broke his jawbone and caused nerve damage and hearing loss.

When the former Dean of Academy’s home was searched, law enforcement found a treasure trove of guns, ammunition, and marijuana.

Due Process

It took years for the case to go to trial which lasted two weeks. Jury deliberation took less than two days. After eye-witness testimony and a great deal of circumstantial evidence, the ‘Rev’ was found guilty of:

  • Armed assault with intent to murder
  • Aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony
  • Possession with intent to distribute a Class D substance
  • Unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun
  • Unlawful possession of ammunition

The judge sentenced him to 18 to 20 years on the assault-related charges followed by five to six years on the gun charges followed by five years probation for the drug charges. He’ll be in his 80s when released from prison.

The Judge said at sentencing, ‘‘You professed to be a man of religion, you promote yourself as one who can mentor troubled youth … and yet you violated their safety by bringing drugs and violence to them…”

What are your thoughts 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 and caring about kids!

-Robin

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