News25 Investigates


Connally ISD fights requests for information pertaining to teacher misconduct; victim resigns

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 06:43:13-04

LACY LAKEVIEW, TX — At Central Texas News Now, part of our promise to you is that we pursue the truth in all stories, especially our investigations.

In an investigative story that aired May 16, we made you aware of Connally ISD's hiring of John Simpson, an educator who was once investigated by the FBI for inappropriate behavior with a student. He was also suspended by the Texas Education Agency. Simpson was accused of locking another teacher in a book room and masturbating in front of her in 2018.

This alleged incident happened 8 months ago, and nothing has came of it - even after the victim told Connally ISD police chief that she wanted to press charges.

"It doesn't take eight months to investigate something like this," Peter Bagley, an attorney who has practiced school law with Blumberg Bagley, said.

Since our investigation, the victim has resigned from her position at Connally ISD in fear of retaliation from administration.

After the story aired, you spoke out online. You voiced your opinions about the findings we presented.

We have heard your questions, and we are still pushing forward, trying to find answers.

After our story aired, parents of students at Connally ISD also wanted answers. This prompted Superintendent Wesley Holt to send out a statement about our investigation.

Part of that statement said:

"I want to personally assure you that I will do everything I can, within the law, to get all the facts regarding this matter out to the public as soon as we are able to do so."

For the past eight months, Central Texas News Now has given Holt, his administration and the school's attorney, Mark Goulet, plenty of opportunities to "do everything" "to get all the facts out to the public."

One email exchange read:

"Do you have a possible date when you believe you'll start to wrap up this investigation? Secondly, would you be willing to go on camera with our station after the investigation?"

About a month later, Price sent the below email to the victim, asking her if she wanted to file a request to prosecute Simpson. However, he never allowed her to make that decision.

Nothing has happened since this email. We asked outside attorney Peter Bagley on why.

Bagley said the situation puzzled him because usually when you press charges on someone, you sign a statement and submit it the local district attorney's office. He said he had never heard of an instance where that wasn't the case.

We have also requested video footage of the security camera near the book room and for emails from district employees about our investigation.

Not only have we not received that information, the school district's attorney has filed paperwork with the Texas Attorney General's office to make it where we will never see those documents. He is requesting that all the information be withheld from the public.

Withholding this information allows this saga at the district to slowly drag on.

Every law enforcement official and attorney our investigative team has spoken to the past eight months has not been able to tell us why Price shouldn't have turned in his investigative findings into the DA's office months ago. Like Peter Bagley, they too were also puzzled.

We invite you to check out the rest of our investigative pieces on Connally ISD below and stay tuned for more investigative stories like this. You can always message us on our Facebook page if you have a news tip that might lead to an investigation.