Monday, August 11, 2003

Nagle Fires Back at Edwards

Ed Note: On Sunday whistle-blower Nancy Nagle issued a challenge to Henrico County school superintendent Dr. Mark Edwards. It came to SLANT as an email, which the reader will find below. Nagle’s thrown-gauntlet is being published in its entirety:

Dr. Edwards,

This is in response to your Q & A interview printed in the August publication of Richmond Magazine. When [you] asked about me calling the police, you stated that I called "weeks after it had been reported by the principal". Then you went into your "spin" of rhetorical language of HCPS confidentiality policies. You further make the inference that when a teacher is innocent of such accusations, a career could be unnecessarily ruined by reporting prematurely. Betty's resignation, due to "family issues" was accepted on December 16th, 2002 and we both know that closed the HCPS book on Betty Moore. I contacted the police on February 3rd, 2003. That's not premature

When you state that the principal reported the abuse to the appropriate authorities weeks before I contacted the police, are you referring to the "one" incident (Tamia Tootles hand slapping incident) that he reported to CPS after the nurse supervisor followed up several days after their meeting? So out of 2 pages of documented allegations of abuse that were delivered to him between the dates of December 4th and December 6th, he felt the need to only report one incident? Do you agree and defend this reporting practice and do you truly feel that it was sufficient? Would it be sufficient if it was your child?

Why didn't he report each and every allegation...including the one that Betty pleaded guilty to on May 1st? That would be the incident involving little Pierre Evans on November 26th, 2002. You see, if he had reported each and every incident, then a proper investigation by CPS would have been conducted and then that agency would have decided whether HCPD needed to be called. I contend that HCPS had enough information to call HCPD themselves. But that never happened and I believe that it never would have happened.

I know Cuffee questioned named witnesses and none of them denied that the incidents occurred. I know that Deborah Brown was one of them. I know that when he asked Mrs. Brown if she had ever witnessed Betty striking a child, her response was, "with her hand...with an do you mean because I've seen her do both?" So, based upon that response, why didn't he report the incidents involving Mrs. Brown as a witness?

Mr. Cuffee knew by under-reporting to CPS and NOT contacting parents that there would NEVER be a CPS outcome of a "founded" case, let alone a police investigation. He told people to "let it blow over" and to "be Mrs. Moore's friend during this difficult time". He exalted her as "a valuable employee that will be missed". On December 12th when Betty was being questioned at CO, a CO administrator was asked by an ECSE teacher, "is there something going on with one of our preschool teachers?" The administrator responded with, "Dr. Edwards is handling that personally." The ECSE teacher reported that conversation firsthand to me the same day.

I felt it was time for simple, straight talk from me, the "whistleblower", the "informant", the "source". Since you personally handled this matter from the beginning, you must now deal with the outcome. You can't do the minimum and then feign having followed "appropriate procedures". It creates continued outrage. It makes closure difficult for people affected by your actions.

Would you be interested in a joint interview involving the two of us by an agreed upon news source? We could answer direct questions based upon a timeline of events and then the public and your constituents can decide if "appropriate procedures" were indeed followed. The CPS investigation is complete. The HCPD investigation is complete. You are obviously willing to answer questions and make public statements regarding the case now. Remember when you couldn't comment because there was "an ongoing investigation" and the case involved "confidential personnel information"?

But then, later, your office began issuing public statements about the case. Remember when you made the public statement to Nicole Johnson of RTD back in May? That was the one where you stated Mr. Cuffee had "contacted each and every parent personally". This was supposedly the response of some newly found duty on the part of Mr. Cuffee to discuss and answer the abuse allegations.

But, Dr. Edwards, what you failed to explain is that he had just made those contacts....the day before...when he asked the ECSE teacher that replaced Betty for a list of the names & phone numbers of all the students in her class...this was, of course, a full five months after the abuse was reported. Further, you left out the fact that he frantically started making these calls after your office was contacted by Ms. Johnson for a comment on a story she was working on based upon how the parents had NEVER been contacted by anybody at HCPS.

Do you remember the TAC meeting on May 15th, 2003? That's the one where you made statements about and fielded questions in regard to the article in the RTD that ran on the same day. That story was about me having received a reprimand for reporting the abuse and speaking to the press. You see, I faxed my certified letter from Lyle Evans to the reporter. When you used that meeting as a forum to defend your actions, you referred to me as "that teacher" and you used your "ongoing investigation" defense. When do I get to make statements and field questions to TAC representatives regarding my own actions?

So, I think a joint interview might be a more honest and fair way to answer the same questions at the same time. I have nothing to hide. I decided a long time ago that as long as I simply told the truth and followed my heart, I would have no regrets. Can you say the same?

-- Nancy Nagle

Ed Note: On Monday attorney Steve Sommers told SLANT that two more lawsuits stemming from the alleged cover-up of Betty Moore's repeated abuse of children will be filed later this week. When asked why they were not filed with the two in the Richmond Times-Dispatch story about suits flied on Friday, Sommers said: "No reason for the delay, other than the length and complexity of the matters."

No comments: