We’ve made it into double digits in a family’s civil lawsuit against the Episcopal School of Dallas related to a teacher’s alleged sexual assault of a student. The trial continues today at 9 a.m. in the county courtroom of Judge D’Metria Benson.
In other news, former ESD history teacher J. Nathan Campbell, who has admitted the assault, has once again delayed his criminal pleading. This time, the Dallas Morning News reports it had less to do with Campbell than it did with the District Attorney.
Updates after the jump as soon as available. Comments are on.
UPDATE 10:30 a.m.
Jane Doe II is in the courtroom, getting ready to testify. Aldous & Co. are requesting access to the court be restricted to only one attorney per side and no spectators.
I’m across the hall in County Court at Law No. 2, where the proceedings are being played through a speaker. State Sen. Royce West objects to the court being closed as “a matter of constitutional importance.”
West says the plaintiffs waived their right to privacy when they offered to use Jane Doe II’s real name in open court (this has been going on the whole time) and can’t invoke it now for the purpose of excluding people from hearing her testimony in person.
Benson denies the objection.
Jane Doe II takes the stand. Charla Aldous asks her if she’s nervous.
“Very,” says Doe II in an audibly emotional voice.
Aldous asks her why she brought this lawsuit.
“I decided to bring this lawsuit because I know I’ve been blessed with a voice,” Doe II says. “I want to use my voice and my strength to stand up for myself directly, and to lend my voice to people [who don’t have one]. I believe I was wronged by Mr. Campbell, and I was wronged by the school I went to since kindergarten, and I don’t want this to happen to anyone ever again.”
Doe II says she was struggling in Campbell’s class, and he came to her and said he would help her with her “note-taking skills.” Campbell told her to email him her notes after class each day, and then to come to his office so he could critique them.
Aldous asks Doe II if Campbell was a popular teacher.
“He was,” Doe II says. “Everyone loved Mr. Campbell.”
Doe II recalls the first time she felt “icky” or “weird” in Campbell’s office. She says she went to see him so they could go over her notes in his office. He told her, “I’m the most attractive teacher at this school, aren’t I?”
Doe II testifies that at the time she said, “Mr. Campbell, this is weird. Why are you asking me this?” Then, she says, Campbell laughed, looked to see if anyone was coming down the hall, closed the door, and said, “Because you’re the most attractive student in the school.”
Doe II says she grabbed her notes and left after he said that.
Aldous asks Doe II if Campbell’s attention flattered her.
“I guess you could say I started to feel flattered, like ‘Oh, he ‘s starting to notice what I look like,'” she says.
Doe II testifies that between winter and spring semesters, Campbell emails her his cell phone number from his ESD email account. In the email before this, Doe II wrote she’d “been thinking about what happened the other day” and wanted to know how he felt about it.
“I just wanted to see if he felt weird about it like I did, if he even remembered it, ” she says on the stand.
Doe II says she waited 30 minutes before calling Campbell.
“I remember staring at that email in my room, thinking ‘Should I do this? This is my teacher,” she says.
Doe II says she told Campbell she felt “really weird” when she heard his voice.
“He laughed and told me this was fun, that we were just talking,” she says. “He calmed my nerves, I guess.”
In the phone call, Campbell said he “wanted to get his feelings out there,” and the two discussed school, sports, and Doe II’s virginity.
“In the beginning, I was nervous,” Doe II says, “But then it felt like I was talking to a teenage boy.”
Doe II testifies that she met Campbell in the parking lot of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in the spring of 2009. Campbell selected that spot, he told her, because it was close to her house.
“I remember feeling a little weird that he knew where I lived and how close the church was,” Doe II says.
When the pair met, Doe II joined Campbell in the ESD suburban and he started to rub her thigh.
“I kept saying, ‘no,’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything,” Doe II says on the stand. “He’d kind of make fun of me, saying, ‘I’m not going to do that. Are you kidding?'”
Doe II says she went to leave because she felt so uncomfortable, and Campbell kissed her on the cheek as she was exiting the vehicle.
Shortly after this incident, Doe II testifies that she went to turn in an assignment at Campbell’s office when he touched her over her shorts in her “area down there.”
“He didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything. I just left,” Doe II says.
“I felt so confused and uncomfortable,” she says. “I remember being like, this is my teacher. Why is he doing this?”
Aldous asks if there was something about it that Doe II liked.
“Yes, I started to feel like I was special,” she says. “Here’s this guy that everyone loves and talks about, and he’s showing all this attention to me? That was the major confusion. Everyone loved him and he’s not treating anyone else like he’s treating me.”
Doe II testifies that Campbell would invite her to his office by texting, “It’s safe. You can come meet me.”
Regarding Campbell’s relationship to Erin Mayo and Rebecca Royall, Doe II says it was her understanding they were more than colleagues — they were friends.
“[Royall] was proud of him for what he was contributing to the school,” Doe II says. “She thought the world of him. He was all giddy and happy that she was proud of him, like he was the cool kid. He got the OK.”
Doe II breaks down on the stand when Aldous asks her if she felt close to Royall, if she trusted her.
“I did trust her,” she says through tears. “I did go to her.”
Doe II says the first time Campbell came to her house they played Apples to Apples for about an hour and just talked. Her parents weren’t home.
Shortly after this, Doe II went to his house while his wife and son were gone. She says they sat on the couch and started kissing, then he told her, “You’re not a very good kisser.”
“I felt embarrassed,” she says.”But he said it was OK. He was going to make me a better kisser. He kept kissing me and saying, ‘You’ll get better.'”
Then, Doe II testifies, they went into the bedroom and Campbell took of his shorts and shirt.
“I told him to put his shorts back on,” Doe II says. “He was laughing, but I’d never seen a boy — a man — without his shorts on.”
Then Campbell touched her “down there.”
“I remember him saying, ‘It’s OK. It’s not going to hurt. I’ll make you better,” Doe II says.
Doe II says she remembers her mom was out shopping and her dad was sailing the next time Campbell came over in August. Campbell knew her parents were gone and would be gone all day. Doe II says he stopped by unannounced as she was getting out of the shower. She let him in wearing only a towel.
“I told him I needed to go change,” she says. “He said it was OK. He had to leave soon anyway.”
Doe II says soon after that they started kissing.
“This time was different than all the other times,” she says. “I said I didn’t want to have sex. He said we wouldn’t.”
Doe II says then he got on top of her and “started doing all sorts of stuff.”
When it was over, Doe II says she asked Campbell, “Did we just have sex?” and he told her yes.
“You said that we wouldn’t do that,” Doe II says she told him. “You know that I wanted to save that.”
Doe II testifies that she told him, “You ruined this now. I want you to leave. I want you to leave right now.”
Doe II testifies that Campbell sent her naked pictures of himself on his iPhone and that they had sex more than once in a suburban owned by ESD.
Aldous asks Doe II if she felt guilty about the fact that Campbell was married and had a son.
“I did a lot,” she says.
Doe II talks about the moments before the Farmers Branch Police Department discovered the pair in a parking lot behind an unoccupied building near LBJ and Midway Road. Doe says she understood that Campbell and his wife had gotten into a big fight and were considering divorce.
“I said, ‘This is really big. This is really serious. I don’t know if you’re asking me for approval, but this is too big for me to handle,” she testified to saying at the time.
Doe II added that she had tried to break it off “multiple times” before this encounter, but Campbell always told her that her “whole world would collapse,” and she would be the one blamed.
“Did you feel threatened by him?” Aldous asks.
“Yes,” Doe II responds.
When the police came, Doe II says one officer asked her, “Isn’t this weird that you’re in a parking lot with a a teacher?”
“I told him everyone at ESD is a family,” she says. “Everyone is really close.”
Lunch recess until 1:45 p.m.
Doe II’s testimony resumes. She says she met Campbell’s 3 year old son on several occasions, including once when the three of them went out for hamburgers after Doe II had a sporting event. Campbell asked her to change out of her uniform, Doe II recalls, and drove the ESD-owned suburban.
Regarding Erin Mayo and Rebecca Royall, Doe II says that Campbell felt they would protect him should any problems arise.
“There was an understanding those were his go-to people,” she says, adding that Campbell talked about how Mayo was “such a fan of his,” and Royall “adored him.”
Aldous asks Doe II how she felt after being caught by the Farmers Branch police.
“I was very scared,” she says. “I felt completely out of control, like he was the one who should be in control … I felt completely powerless.”
Doe II says she asked Mayo and Royall numerous times if she’d have to leave ESD, and they always told her no. Aldous asks why that was important.
“Because it’s the school I went to since kindergarten,” she says through tears. “That’s all I knew.”
Doe II says she continued to call Campbell’s house after he resigned from ESD but would hang up when someone answered.
“Are you proud of that?” Aldous asks.
“No,” Doe II says.
Aldous asks her why she called and hung up.
“Because that’s who always told me what to do, and he wasn’t there anymore,” she says. “All of the sudden I was on my own … I didn’t know how to keep going because that person was gone, and I was confused, scared, hurt, and just lost.”
Doe II says that through her therapy she has come to realize that she “was used for a sick man’s game.”
Aldous asks Doe II how she feels about Mayo. Doe II says, “If I had to put it in one word, I would say betrayal. I thought she was there for me and was going to protect me,” Doe II says as she begins to cry again. “She told me I could always go to her, and I did [go to her].”
Doe II goes on to say how high school is supposed to be full of good memories, but now all she sees when she looks back on her high school years is negative.
“I think about the one teacher that I trusted, who told me she was there for me, but didn’t do anything for me,” Doe II says.
Aldous reads therapy notes from Doe II’s session on Jan. 27, the day her father was forced to withdraw her. Doe II believed the rumors at school were dying down, her therapist wrote, and she was excited about an upcoming college trip.
Doe II recalls the night her parents told her she could no longer go to ESD.
“I remember I was crying so hard,” she says. “I was completely hysterical.”
Doe II says her dad was crying too, and told her, “They didn’t give me a choice.”
“At that moment I felt like my whole world had fallen apart,” Doe II says. “Of all the nights, that night was the worst.”
Doe II says she remembers screaming, “Now everyone is going to know it was me.” She says she asked herself what was the point in living anymore and considered suicide.
“Are you trying, in testifying today, to make sure ESD never does this to a person again?” Aldous asks.
“Absolutely,” Doe II says.
Plaintiffs pass witness.
Chrysta Castaneda questions Doe II for ESD. She brings up Facebook chat messages between Doe II and other ESD students. One girl sent a message on Jan. 27 around 10 p.m. that said “OMG. I am so sorry.” Another student, a boy, asked Doe II if she “got freaky with Mr. Campbell.” In the message, Doe II responded by saying that was “the dumbest rumor” she’d ever heard.
“Does getting freaky mean having sex?” Castaneda asks.
“That’s not what it means to me, no,” Doe II says.
Aldous objects on relevance and gets the evidence thrown out.
Castaneda asks Doe II when the first time she called Campbell was. Doe II says she doesn’t remember the day. Castaneda produces her cell phone bill, which showed she called Campbell on April 19, 2009 and the two talked for 112 minutes.
“You never had sex on campus, did you?” Castaneda asks.
“No,” Doe II says.
Castaneda asks Doe II if she had sex with Campbell “more than 20 times.”
Doe II says she’s not sure, but Castaneda shows that in her deposition, Doe II agreed to the 20 times figure.
“Were most of those times after your 17th birthday?” Castaneda asks.
Aldous objects on relevance, since in Texas it’s always a felony for a teacher to have sex with his high school student. Benson sustains the objection and throws out the question.
Castaneda, using Doe II’s deposition, shows that she and Campbell met “every other day” during the summer.
“Did you engage in a sexual activity most days?” she asks.
“I wouldn’t say most days, but frequently,” Doe II says.
Doe II says she remembers Campbell asking her if she “had some cash” to pay for one of the hotel rooms after they had sex in it.
Castaneda says she has evidence that Doe II sent a total of 10,103 texts to Campbell from April 19 to Nov 29, 2009. Campbell sent 8,718 texts in the same time period. They shared 3,978 phone calls.
Castaneda asks Doe II if she called Campbell as late as May 2010. Doe II says she doesn’t recall doing that. Castaneda shows phone records from May 26, 2010 that reflected Doe II called Campbell’s house and cell phone.
“I don’t recall it, but I must have,” Doe II says.
Recess until 5:30 p.m.
Castaneda asks Doe II if she fought with one of her sisters during Thanksgiving break about text messages and her general behavior.
“[My sister] was a little too curious about why I was needing to use the car so much, and why I was always coming back home on edge,” Doe II says, acknowledging that she and her sister had several fights during the break about how Doe II “was different.”
“[My sister] kept asking where I was going, when was I going to be back, and I remember being like, ‘Gosh, why is [my sister] being so annoying?'”
Castaneda asks Doe II about the story she told her parents after she had been caught with Campbell on Nov. 29.
“Dad was very upset,” Doe II says. “I just kept reassuring him about the story. I could tell they were very concerned. Dad said he thought he should call Campbell’s wife.”
Doe II says she talked her dad out of doing that.
Castaneda plays a voicemail that Doe II left Campbell at 9:26 p.m. on Nov. 29.
“Please, please, please try to call me later if you can,” she said. “Please I need to talk to you later. Bye.”
Doe II breaks down on the stand when the voicemail is played.
Castaneda asks Doe II why she believed Campbell resigned.
“My understanding is that my friend went to his office, slammed the door, and started yelling at him,” Doe II says. “Telling him, ‘You need to fix this,’ and ‘This is your problem. You need to turn yourself in or quit.'”
Castaneda asks Doe II if during their meeting on Dec. 2, she told Royall and Mayo that the relationship had been sexual. Doe II says she did not.
“You didn’t even want to press charges initially, did you?” Castaneda asks.
“That’s true,” Doe II says. “I decided to press charges the night I was told I couldn’t go to ESD anymore.”
“Did you recall you expressed jealousy toward Campbell and other girls? Castaneda asks.
“On one occasion, yes” Doe II says, adding that it was Campbell’s attention toward another student, who was her friend, that made her jealous.
Castaneda asks Doe II if she’s made substantial progress in therapy since the incident with Campbell.
Doe II says she’s “working through her healing process.”
ESD passes witness. Aldous has no further questions. Court is in recess until tomorrow at 9 a.m.
And I’m officially through an entire notebook in one day. A new record.