ESD Trial, Day 9 UPDATED

Although Father Stephen Swann has been examined and cross-examined, it’s my understanding he’ll take the stand once again for the plaintiffs’ rebuttal. This is where the Former Student, who may testify as well today, could come into play.

Obviously, there’s still a lot of speculation as to what will or will not happen with regard to questions about that whole situation. I can tell you that the Former Student has her own legal representation.

Side notes: A commenter asked where the trial is being held specifically. It’s in courtroom County Law No. 1, located on the fifth floor of 600 Commerce Street (George Allen Building).

After having his Aug. 4 court date rescheduled, J. Nathan Campbell has a criminal hearing on Thursday.

Updates after the jump.

UPDATE 1:40 p.m.

I’ve been busy writing the print version of this story for Friday’s edition of Preston Hollow People. I have to be back in court in 10 minutes, so there isn’t much time for updates, but here’s a start.

11:40 a.m.

Swann takes the stand, clerical collar affixed, and Charla Aldous begins questioning him about ESD’s 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.

11:50 a.m.

Aldous asks Swann if there have been any other allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct between an ESD coach that got “swept under the rug.”

Swann shakes his head no.

Aldous then asks specifically about a teacher or an employee, Swann continues to say no.


Aldous shows an March 2, 2010 email from Erin Mayo to Swann about Jane Doe II’s sister, who also graduated from ESD, attending an alumni board meeting. It reads:

“[Jane Doe II’s sister] attended this evening’s board meeting in her capacity as a class agent. Sara [Campbell] said she didn’t say or do anything inappropriate, but I thought you should be aware of her presence.

Poor Sara.”

In reponse, Swann says, “I can’t speak for Erin, but my feeling was that I was proud [Jane Doe II’s sister] was there and participating,” Swann says.

The sister mentioned in the email is present in the courtroom today, seated with her parents.

12:05 p.m.

Aldous asks if it was true that ESD wouldn’t even let Jane Doe II back on campus to clean out her locker.

“That was a mistake,” Swann says.

Lunch recess until 2 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

Bishop James Stanton of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas testifies by video deposition. He says he would have expected a different response regarding the decision to expel Jane Doe II and the manner in which it was carried out. He says the request by John Doe to have a day to decide whether or not to withdraw his daughter was “reasonable.”

“In my pastoral experience, people in crisis situations do not make good judgements,” Stanton says.

2:40 p.m.

Aldous asks Stanton what he thinks of the decision to bring money (tuition reimbursement) into the decision-making process of expelling Jane Doe II.

“I find  that inexplicable,” he says.

Recess until 3:15 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Chief academic officer Rebecca Royall takes the stand. Aldous asks her if the first time Royall met Jane Doe II was on or after Nov. 30, 2009, when JDII and Campbell were found by the Farmer’s Branch police department in an ESD suburban together. She says yes.

3:30 p.m.

Royall won’t call teachers speculating on reasons for Campbell’s exit from the school “gossip.”

“I would say they were talking inappropriately,” she says.

3:45 p.m.

Royall says she was the only one present when Campbell gave his letter of resignation on Dec. 1, 2009. He had previously told Royall nothing inappropriate had occurred. She said (in the meeting), “If something happened other than what you told me, slide the envelope to me,” and he did so.

“When he slid that paper over, you knew he had done something very wrong, did you not?” Aldous asks.

“Yes,” Royall says.

3:50 p.m.

Royall confirms that before Campbell left campus on Dec. 1, 2009, he told then-CFO Chris Burrow that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with Jane Doe II. Burrow has since been placed on administrative leave.

4 p.m.

Regarding rumors, Aldous asks if Jane Doe II should have been questioned about the statements she supposedly made to other students before being expelled.

“That would’ve been one way we could have handled it,” Royall says.

The way you should have handled it? Aldous asks.

“No,” Royall says.

Recess 4:25 to 4:45 p.m.

4: 45 p.m.

Aldous asks Royall about separation vs expulsion. Royall says there is a difference because separation from ESD wouldn’t be on a student’s transcript but expulsion would.

“Is it your testimony that you never intended to expel Jane Doe II, even if her father didn’t sign,” Aldous asks.

“If he didn’t sign, I would’ve gone back to Father Swann,” Royall says.

Reading from Royall’s deposition, Aldous shows that the intent was to separate Jane Doe II if her parents did not voluntarily withdraw her. She would not have been expelled, as her father was told.

“We never intended it to go on her record,” Royall says.

“Then why did you tell her father you would expel her?” Aldous asks.

“I’m not sure,” Royall says.

5 p.m.

Aldous asks Royall if she knows what the definition of fraud is.

“I think you’re about to tell me,” Royall says as Aldous is thumbing through a dictionary.

After Aldous reads the definition, Royall says she did not think she was committing fraud when she and Mayo told Mr. Doe that his daughter would be expelled if he didn’t withdraw her, which was not true.

“Your intent was for Mr. Doe to believe the claims you made, was it not?”

“Yes,” Royall says.

5:15 p.m.

Return to comments Campbell wrote on Jane Doe II’s report card. Royall says she doesn’t like the statement that Jane Doe II “was certainly like a dog with a bone this quarter.” She also says the “late-night email” comment would have been a “red flag” to her if she were the one reviewing the report cards.

Campbell’s officemate, another male teacher, was Jane Doe II’s advisor and the one who was assigned to read her report cards.

5:30 p.m.

Court is in recess until Monday.

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