Thursday, October 15, 2009

Howell maintains she didn't have sex with student

This from, Video from WCPO TV:
Former Dayton High School teacher Nicole Howell denied under oath Thursday that she every had any sexual relations with a former 16-year-old male student.

"No," she answered to each of a series of questions asked by her attorney about any sexual involvement with the boy.

In testimony earlier in the afternoon, her stepfather, Edward Joseph Baer, told the jury that it's possible the teenager could have been in her Covington apartment, but he didn't believe he went there.

"If Nicole said he was never there, he was never there," Baer testified. Earlier in the day a Covington police detective who investigated the charges said he believe Howell was lying when she said the teen had never been in her apartment.

Baer testified he didn't find it shocking that Howell had sent text messages to the boy and he didn't find it inappropriate if she called him at 1:30 or 2:30 in the morning. Testimony for the prosecution earlier in the trial revealed that the teacher had sent 430 text messages to the teen from Oct. 29, 2008 to Dec. 2, 2008 and that the teen had sent texted Howell 368 times.

This from the Enquirer, Photo by Patrick Reddy:

Ex-teacher takes stand

Former Dayton High School teacher Nicole Howell has taken the stand in her own defense against charges that she had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student at the school.

Howell, under questioning from her attorney Eric Deters, emphatically denied that she has ever had a sexual relationship with the student, or even held hands with or kissed him.
Earlier today, the prosecution rested it case with its final witness, Covington Detective Bryan Fodge.

Frodge continued to defend his investigation as he was cross examined for a second day by defense lawyer Eric Deters...
UPDATE: Ex-Teacher Denies Sex With Student
Ex-Teacher Denies Sex With Student
Detective Testifies Dayton Teacher Lied
Teacher Accused Of Sexual Misconduct Appears On TV
Detective: Accused Teacher Texted Teen 438 Times
Photos: The trial of Nicole Howell
Story from Wednesday's testimony
Story from Tuesday's proceedings

Since there is not physical evidence to back up the student’s claims, prosecutors are relying on telephone logs that show Howell sent 430 texts to the student from Oct. 29 through Dec. 1, 2008. The student responded with 360 texts to Howell during the same period. Those numbers don’t include 25 telephone calls between the two.That averages to about 24 calls or texts per day for little more than a month’s time.

The student testified Tuesday that he picked up Howell’s unattended mobile phone at the school one day and called himself in order to get her number. Howell said she initially had assumed that a cheerleader she coached had given the student her number.

Howell said she wanted to be a “confidante” to the cheerleaders and her students so she didn’t mind students calling her in the early morning hours if they were troubled.

“Did you ever text (the student) a single sexual explicit message such as ‘I want to have sex with you?’” Deters asked.

Howell answered again with a firm “No.” She said the concept of phone sex was “weird” to her.

The student, however, did send her sexually explicit messages, Howell said.She testified that she responded to those messages with sarcastic texts. When asked to give examples of her responses, she said they included “funny,” “yeah right,” “you wish” and “maybe when you are in college.”

She said she is sorry she never ordered him to stop sending the texts or discipline him for the inappropriate behavior.“I will regret that for the rest of my life,” Howell said. “That is why I am here today.”

The actual contents of the texts will not be known to jurors. Witnesses, including Howell, have testified that the phone company had purged the texts from the computer systems by the time of the allegations of misconduct made their way to authorities.


Anonymous said...

As a former principal, I was not surprised Richard Day seemed to side with the student in this case. This is essentially the way principals (and former principals) function: support the teachers until there is an accusation.

This is unfortunate. Indeed, I am pleased the young woman was aquitted. I believe she was the target of a smear campaign by a smitten student.

As for the teacher's text messaging the student, this was iappropriate, but once gain, principals must constantly remind teachers that they must watch what what they do in their private life. That being said, principals could help stop inappropriate relations with students and teachers.

Richard Day said...

Did I side with the student or caution waiting for the evidence?

I get your point, but would state my biases a little difrferently.

Support the students first - but yes - support the teachers as well. And don't abandon that support unless there is evidence to do so. But if such evidence exists, support the student - let the system work.

Yesterday that system acquitted Howell.

We completely agree that principals have a role to play in cautioning teachers against unwise behaviors.

Smear campaign? Perhaps.

But consider this: What would it take for YOU to exchange hundreds of text messages in one month with a student? I'm having a hard time coming up with a scenairo that doesn't include other health or safety professionals or parents being involved. Can you?

She was acquirred. So be it. But this still stinks and she should not have been supported solely because she was a teacher. She has to earn trust by her actions.