A man engaged to the mother of a Cooke Elementary School girl said Friday that he is upset with the way Cleburne ISD handled his future stepdaughter’s report of sexual abuse.
A male teacher on campus allegedly sexually abused the girl in November, the man said, but she did not speak out about the abuse until December. The girl has since transferred to another school in the district.
The Times-Review is not using names to protect the minor involved in the case.
At that time, the man said, he and the girl’s mother contacted the police and subsequently talked to a police detective and officials from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County.
CPD Detective Kelly Summey confirmed that a report had been made and that the incident remains under investigation but said she could release no further details since the case involves a minor.
The teacher, the man said, declined to take a polygraph test. CISD Superintendent Tim Miller when asked about the polygraph referred the matter to Cleburne police, who said the department could not respond to the matter, again because the case involves a minor.
Miller on Friday confirmed that the teacher in question was suspended with pay Dec. 16.
The man on Friday said CISD Executive Director of Human Resources Kyle Boles interviewed his daughter Thursday, something Miller confirmed Friday.
The man said he did not have a problem with school officials interviewing his daughter as long as he or the child’s mother were present during the interview. He said Boles had his assistant contact him before the interview. Miller on Friday said CISD officials don’t usually contact parents before student interviews, but said that is addressed on a case by case basis.
The man said he was unable to leave work but that the girl’s mother went to the school intending to sit in on her daughter’s interview.
CISD officials, the man said, refused to let the girl’s mother sit in during the interview.
Boles or an assistant, the man said, told the mother that she could see a list of the questions her daughter would be asked beforehand and her daughter’s answers after, but could not sit in on the interview.
Miller confirmed that the mother was in an adjacent room during her daughter’s interview and said a translator, the girl mainly speaks Spanish, talked to the mother before and after the interview and sat in on the interview with Boles to translate between he and the girl.
The mother, Miller said, did not ask to sit in on the interview. Miller also said that the assistant and the man spoke but said she does not recall him asking that he or the mother be present during the girl’s interview.
Miller subsequently said that an assistant principal at the school called both the girl’s mother and the man and both gave permission to interview the girl.
The interview with the girl began, Miller said, but stopped when the mother arrived to give officials time to explain to her what was going on. The interview with the girl then continued with the mother’s consent, Miller said.
The man said CISD officials had no right to interview the girl without a parent present and called the situation unprofessional. The man said he left a message for Boles to call him back to discuss the situation but never heard back from him. Miller on Friday said Boles received a message, which was garbled and could not be understood.
The teacher will be interviewed sometime within a week, Miller said, and depending on the outcome of that and information from CPD and other agencies a decision will be made concerning his continued employment with the district.
Miller said that investigations by the various agencies involved in the matter, coupled with the school’s Christmas break, account for the delay in interviewing the student and the teacher. Miller said no charges have been made against the teacher at this time.
Miller said CISD officials contacted CPD and other agencies and began a full, intensive investigation as soon as he learned of the allegations.
The man on Friday disputed the claims made by CISD officials.
“I just want to let people know what kind of people are running these schools,” the man said. “My fiance went there to be in the room with her daughter. It doesn’t make sense that she’s going to drive out to the school just to stand in another room. The thing is this has been very tough on [the girl] and we don’t want her to have to keep reliving this.”