By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
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
The report below, dated June 10, 1996, is known as a "Sexual Battery Screening Sheet." It was written by Assistant State Attorney Margaret Bisignani. Information at the top of the report refers to the defendant (Ronald Major, born October 16, 1940; race: black; sex: male) and the victim (name deleted by the State Attorney's Office, born August 6, 1977; race: black; sex: female). The text is reproduced here verbatim.
At the time of the incident, the victim was a seventeen-year-old female. She was also a senior at Miami Central High School. The defendant is a fifty-five-year-old male. The defendant was and is currently employed at the same school, as an Assistant Principal.
The victim's allegation was originally reported to the School Board Police on June 7, 1995. The case was assigned to Sergeant Crumity. The School Board Police closed their case in September 1995, as unsubstantiated because they were unable to locate the victim. On February 13, 1996, the case was assigned to Detective Jay Canedy of the Metro-Dade Police Department. It was assigned to Detective Canedy after a story, critical of the School Board Police, appeared on A Current Affair. The victim, her father and two witnesses were interviewed for the Current Affair expose.
The victim provided Detective Canedy with the following account:
On June 5, 1995, the defendant summoned the victim from her fifth period class. The defendant made this request in writing on the back of a pass given to the victim's fifth period teacher, Ms. Chappie. (It should be noted that Detective Canedy has not been able to locate Ms. Chappie. In addition, the note from the defendant has disappeared.)
The victim went to the defendant's office shortly after 1:00 p.m. The defendant's secretary, Ms. Brenda Black, was not at her desk, which is located right outside of the defendant's office. The victim knocked on the door to the defendant's office, as she entered another student exited. The defendant told her to shut the door and to have a seat. The defendant stood up. He asked her to hand him the pass so he could put the time on it. As she handed him the pass, he grabbed her hand and pulled her to a standing position. He got behind her and bent her over his desk. He unzipped his pants and took out his penis. The victim was trying to free herself and she was telling the defendant to stop. He pulled her panties to the side and attempted to insert his penis into her vagina. His penis made contact with her vagina, but did not penetrate it.
The defendant then digitally penetrated her vagina. At this point, the sixth period bell rang (1:25 p.m.) and the defendant let her go. The victim ran out of the office and went straight home, skipping her sixth period class.
The victim told Detective Canedy that she was afraid to report the incident because she was afraid she would not be able to graduate.
The next day the victim went to school. She ran into the defendant in the hallway. He said, "You did me wrong." The victim did not tell anyone on that day.
Two days after the incident, June 7, 1995, the victim fully disclosed to Mrs. Sigona, one of her teachers. She disclosed because she was depressed. Mrs. Sigona advised Assistant Principal Cook of the allegation. Assistant Principal Turner was also notified.
After disclosing to Mrs. Sigona, the victim was approached by one of her physical education teachers, Ms. Johnston. Ms. Johnston asked the victim if something was wrong, because she appeared upset. The victim fully disclosed to Ms. Johnston.
The same day, the victim was asked to respond to the principal's office. Mr. Turner, Mr. Cook and Mrs. Sigona were all present. The victim was asked to repeat the allegation. The victim told them what had happened, but she omitted the part about digital penetration. She told Detective Canedy that she was embarrassed to tell the whole story because there were two men in the room. Next, the victim wrote out a written statement for the principal, Mr. Bethel. Again, the victim omitted the part about digital penetration. She said she left it out because she was in a hurry to get out of the office. It should be noted, the victim disclosed the part about digital penetration to Mrs. Sigona and Ms. Johnston.
Mr. Bethel reported the matter to the School Board Police on June 7, 1995. The School Board Police forwarded the case to the School Board. On July 12, 1995, the School Board officially decided to conduct a personnel investigation.
In the meantime, Mr. Bethel made two attempts to contact the victim and her family to discuss the case. The principal set up a meeting with the victim and her father. They failed to appear. The principal approached the victim. He told her he needed to meet with her father to discuss the case. The victim said she wanted to drop the case and the principal told her that she could not drop it. Mr. Bethel set up a second meeting, which the victim and her father failed to appear.
The school board police were unable to locate the victim and her family because they did not have her correct address. The School Board Police attempted to notify the victim at the incorrect address. In September they closed their case because they were unable to locate the victim.
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.
The second contact the defendant had with the victim was a few days later. Mrs. Velma Kelly reported to him that the victim stole a necklace.
The third contact the defendant had with the victim was on the date of the incident. On that date she made three separate trips to his office. The first time was at approximately 7:45 in the morning. The victim needed the defendant's assistance in getting her cap and gown for graduation. She was unable to get them because her passing credits had not been approved. The defendant told the victim she was in danger of failing twelfth grade. He told her to see her counselor and report back to him.
The victim returned to the defendant's office at 9:30 in the morning. They discussed her status. The defendant again told her to return with additional information.
The victim returned to the defendant's office for a third and final time, shortly after 1:00 p.m. During this visit, the door to his office was partially open. She was in his office for approximately twenty minutes. In addition, Mrs. Black and Mrs. Kelly were eating lunch right outside of his office. He and the victim straightened out the issue of her graduation. The victim left his office shortly before sixth period. He denied sending for the victim via a hand written note to Ms. Chappie.
The defendant attempted to locate the victim during her sixth period class because she left some papers in his office. He discovered she skipped her sixth period class. The defendant saw the victim the next morning when she came to his office to pick up her papers. He denied making any statements to her.
The defendant told Detective Canedy that on an unknown date in April 1996, he received a telephone call from the victim's father. The victim's father said he was sorry the victim was causing problems for the defendant. He said he was tricked into doing the interview for A Current Affair. He also said he does not want the victim to cooperate with the police investigation.
The defendant agreed to take a polygraph examination. The test was administered by Polygrapher Robert Gately of the Metro-Dade Police Department. The defendant failed the examination.
The victim was not examined at the Rape Treatment Center as she is sexually active.
It is the opinion of this Assistant State Attorney that criminal charges should not be filed in this case for the following reasons:
1. The victim's statements are contradicted by the statements of Mrs. Black and Mrs. Kelly.
2. There is no physical evidence to support the allegation.
3. The defendant denied the allegation.
4. A possible motive for fabrication exists.
In light of the above facts and circumstances, the State would be unable to prove this allegation beyond a reasonable doubt.