By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
In December 1995, a investigative reporter from A Current Affair contacted the School Board Police regarding the victim's case. On January 25, 1996, Sergeant Crumity was able to speak with the victim's father by telephone. The victim's father said the victim lives with her mother. He also told Sergeant Crumity that he would get back to her. On February 5, 1996, Sergeant Crumity again reached the victim's father by telephone. He said he would try and get a hold of the victim and get back to her. That night, the story aired on A Current Affair.
Two days after the show aired, Sergeant Crumity sent the victim a certified letter. Two days later, on February 10, 1996, Sergeant Crumity went to the victim's mother's residence. The victim was not present. An unidentified family member gave her the victim's mother's work telephone number. Sergeant Crumity reached the mother at her place of employment. The victim's mother said she does not handle the victim's affairs, the victim's father does.
On February 13, 1996, Detective Canedy spoke with the victim's mother. She said the victim was out of town. She also advised that the victim's father is the one who handles her affairs. In addition, she told Detective Canedy that the victim goes to school, but she would only say the school was in Miami. The detective left his name and number with the victim's mother, with instructions to have the victim call him.
On February 20, 1996, Detective Canedy tried calling the victim at her mother's house. He spoke with a woman who said she was the victim's sister, but she refused to give her name. She gave the detective the phone number of the house where the victim was staying.
On February 20, 1996, Detective Canedy spoke with the victim's aunt. She told him the victim was a student at Miami Dade Community College. Detective Canedy left his name and number with the aunt.
Detective Canedy reached the victim by telephone, later that same day. She said she wanted to pursue the case. They arranged to meet on February 22, 1996, at the victim's residence. The victim failed to appear.
Later that same day, the victim spoke with Detective Canedy. She agreed to meet with him, the next day, on February 23, 1996. Again the victim failed to appear. That day, Detective Canedy spoke with the victim's father, who said he would call the victim and get back with the detective.
On February 28, 1996, Sergeant Crumity contacted Detective Canedy. She advised Detective Canedy of the following: The victim's father filed a claim for damages against the School Board on behalf of the victim and her brother. (The victim's brother had an unrelated claim against the School Board Police). They are seeking damages in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). In addition, the father said the family wanted to avoid a trial and they wanted a quick settlement. Sergeant Crumity also advised about a previous sexual assault claim made by the victim. In that case, the victim accused a former school monitor of sexual assault. The victim received a cash settlement from the School Board through the efforts of her father. The school monitor pled guilty to the charges filed against him in criminal court. Finally, Sergeant Crumity told Detective Canedy that on February 22, 1996, the victim gave a formal statement to the attorney handling the claim for monetary damages.
On March 7, 1996, Detective Canedy personally served the victim to appear at the State Attorney's Office to give a statement. On March 13, 1996, the victim appeared and gave a statement to Detective Canedy.
Detective Canedy interviewed the defendant's secretary, Ms. Brenda Black. She was able to recall that on the day of the incident, she did not leave her desk. Throughout the day, the door to the defendant's office was open. Ms. Black said the victim made two visits on June 5, . Each time, the door to the defendant's office was open. According to Ms. Black, the victim did not appear upset at any time.
Detective Canedy interviewed an additional witness, Mrs. Velma Kelly. Ms. Kelly told Detective Canedy that on the day of the incident she was having lunch right outside the defendant's office with Ms. Black. She saw the victim in the defendant's office. The door was open the entire time. The victim left just prior to the sixth period bell and did not seem upset.
Detective Canedy interviewed Mrs. Sigona and Ms. Johnston. They said the victim appeared upset on the day she disclosed. She had tears in her eyes, this prompted Ms. Johnston to question her. The victim told her the entire allegation. Mrs. Sigona said the victim appeared to be embarrassed and afraid when she had to repeat the allegation in front of the two assistant principals, Mr. Cook and Mr. Turner.
Detective Canedy interviewed Mr. Cook and Mr. Turner. Neither one recalled Mrs. Sigona being present when the victim disclosed to them. They said the victim wanted to drop the charges. She was concerned the defendant would lose his job. They said her statements were conflicting and inconsistent.
Detective Canedy interviewed the defendant. After being advised of his constitutional rights, the defendant provided the following account:
His first contact with the victim was on May 31, 1995. On that date the victim rode in a taxicab to school. She allegedly fled the taxicab without paying the fare. The taxicab driver complained to the school. The defendant played a role in having the victim arrested. It was later discovered that the victim's sister used the victim's name and she is the one who evaded paying the cab fare.