Last night I got a telephone call from a concerned citizen, who wanted to discuss the post on Sour Grapes Club, as well as the posts that we have here on Joelle Ogletree. I told him re: SG that the article in the paper (the Glen Rose News) was appalling and that if he didn't intend to be seen as an entity that was showing grave disrespect to the City, the 4b board, the Chamber, and the CVB, he needed to address that with the author of the article, because that's where the issue came from, or perhaps write his own rebuttal or explanation for publication. I merely expressed my utter shock and dismay at the article, and at the group, of which he is also a member, and their attitude.
At the end of the conversation, Concerned Citizen asked me if I would not post on this blog about the conversation we were then having re:Ogletree and the children involved . I said at the time I would not, but on reflection, I find I must speak about it. Keeping quiet promotes the same kind of secrecy that has damaged lives. I called him to let him know, as a courtesy, this morning.
I'm not going to recap the entire conversation, but there was one part that I object to. Let me say first that I believe very strongly that Joelle Ogletree is innocent of the charges against her. And it's not only me, but the court system declined to press again the criminal case against her, never to bring the case again, with jeopardy. A DA doesn't do that if he or she thinks there is a solid, winnable case against someone. Then, later, an administrative law judge in Austin ruled that the children involved lied. And that included one of the children, now adults, who went on the Dr Phil show. One of them, despite saying that he would be there to testfiy at the ALJ hearing, went out of the country at that exact time. Despite all this, the Glen Rose Independent School board continues to treat Ogletree as if she's a criminal who can't be trusted, and as if she's a nuisance who should have shut up and let others railroad her around. I have posted transcripts and other source materials that show what occurred. Even now, Ogletree is patiently waiting for the appeals court to decide about whether a summary judgment requested by GRISD to prevent Ogletree from having her day in court was correct. I happen to believe that everyone in this country deserves to have his or her day in court, and the more especially when someone's character is assassinated.
Back to the convo. Concerned Citizen implied that anyone that believed Ogletree over a child was doing so because Ogletree is very persuasive and also implied that the reason she is bringing this case is because of money. He said that there was a lot to this case that hadn't been brought out and people didn't know about, and that there were sex pictures of Ogletree. When I said, why doesn't (or didn't) someone bring those pictures to light or other unnamed accusations, Concerned Citizen said it was because one of the children didn't want to see Ogletree go to jail, and also that he didn't want to disrupt the lives of the other children, now adults, who are married.
But this just cannot be and it rings 0 to me. I told Concerned Citizen that if I had had a child who I believed was molested by a teacher, heaven and earth would not stop me from making sure that teacher was sent to jail. One cannot know for sure that a court might not do a plea bargain or some other sentence that would not be years in a cell, but that would not stop me from bringing out all evidence. Why? To make sure that a teacher (or other authority figure) who did this to a child would not be able to do it to other children. Instead, this family has the, in my opinion, excuse, that they aren't doing it because they warm heartedly didn't want to see Ogletree, as a female teacher with a child, in prison.
Update: At the time I took this to Ogletree, who went to the Somervell County Sheriff's Depart.
Utterly baloney to me. Why? Again, because your natural instinct as a parent is NOT to let someone that harms your child off the hook. And if you actually did know of photos, you'd trot those out at the very first opportunity, because it would solidify your case.
About those alleged photos. I don't believe they exist, but if they do, then why weren't they brought out before, on the many opportunities when, criminally, their existence would have ensured Ogletree's guilt. Second, does no one think that the GRISD school board wouldn't be actively making sure THEY had the photos so that they could finally bring an end to the civil lawsuit Ogletree has against them? Of course they would, and, if I understood Concerned Citizen correctly, these photos are actually allegedly in someone else's hands (and not spread through the school, as one might be wont to do with sexual matters), so getting them released wouldn't even be a Concerned Citizen responsibility.
It isn't as if the boys, who went on the Dr Phil show and one of them very graphically described his alleged sexual assault, didn't have an opportunity to bring up the photos then. I don't watch Dr Phil but I do see his sensational commercials, and I have no doubt, do you?, that Phil would have chomped on the bit to add more controversy and interest with another piece of information. Or, when the two men failed the polygraph test, that was their chance to say "Hey! But I know of PHOTOS". But they didn't. (I say allegedly not only because of the case dismissal and the ALJ hearing, but one of them has never has testified in any type of adversarial situation about his allegations). So now here pops up stuff that a. wasn't spoken of before b. wasn't included in the evidence chain at any point and c. the person who says he knows of them isn't willing to produce them. I call BS.
Here's what really bothers me, and why I had to tell Concerned Citizen that I had to speak of this instead of keeping quiet. Although I cannot know this for sure, if Concerned Citizen was ready to tell me that nebulous evidence existed, including photos, and that if I knew it all I would change my mind, but please keep this quiet, I believe that he would tell others the same thing as a quiet, unable to be substantiated rumor. I mean, he doesn't know me from beans, or at least last night was the first time I actually have ever spoken to him, including a hello, ever. What, then, does he tell his friends?
I do not agree with keeping secrets in this manner. Concerned Citizen said that the affected boys didn't want to disturb the lives of his pals, etc by producing evidence that what they say, quietly, about Ogletree is 1. But what about Ogletree's life for the last 6 years? Surely she equally has the right to want a life free from accusation and innuendo. If she has been outspoken, such as speaking up at the last GRISD school board meeting, it's because she has a RIGHT to do so and shouldn't be scolded because she hasn't been complacent with her accusers.
So instead of whispering about that there may be more about this case that isn't out there, Concerned Citizen should be working to get it all out or say no more about it ever. Because it's not fair to talk about these things to anyone without being willing to bring the FACTS out in the open and show that what he is saying is 1, instead of spreading unsubstantiated rumors. He may not care about Ogletree's reputation, both boys have very publicly been called out as liars by the ALJ as well as publicly failing a lie detector test on television. One would think that should be enough to go beyond secrecy and whispers and get this info into the fresh air and sunshine.
But I can't be part of keeping this secret as it makes me feel that I cam somehow complicit also in impugning Ogletree's reputation, even though I absolutely don't agree with Concerned Citizen's comments. And that smarmy feeling is one that can't be showered off.