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Dean given a pass on charges?

Posted: December 18, 2011 - 12:00am  |  Updated: December 19, 2011 - 2:03pm

Typically, cops tell us, the first time someone is arrested for shoplifting isn’t the first time the person has stolen. The thief usually commits the crime two or three times before getting caught.

Cops also know those crimes are more likely to stop the sooner the shoplifter is caught in that cycle.

So it goes with other crimes, too. And in the case of Scott Dean, convicted Thursday on two counts of child molestation, prosecutors worked to establish that Dean’s criminal sexual history spanned more than two decades.

Many people heard about the “similar transaction” involving twin girls from West Virginia, who said Dean fondled them against their will when he was 14 and they were 12. No charges were filed in that case, and some court observers felt bringing it up was a cheap shot.

Be that as it may, put it in context with these other allegations:

• That Dean, as a substitute teacher, groped a student: We’ve looked into this rumor as far as we can go and can’t substantiate it, yet one person who I talked to this week swore to know it “as a fact” because he’d been told the story by someone who had been told the story. Neither the alleged victim nor her mother filed a complaint with the police.

• That a female cop, in uniform, said Dean inappropriately touched her: The person who told me this story claims the cop was “afraid” and took no action.

• That a language coach of the victim’s sister heard allegations against Dean: This one we know because it was in court.

Collect these together, along with the twins’ story, and there are two common themes. The first is obvious – women accusing Dean of touching them sexually against their will.

The other might be less obvious, but to me it’s just as glaring: In each of these cases, if we take the allegations entirely at face value, Dean was accused of a crime and adults involved took no action – even when a police officer was one of those making the allegation.

Think about that. Making the assumption purely for the sake of discussion that the allegations all are true and not just more of the fevered fantasies of Dean’s political enemies, what this means is that those with the power potentially to stop future crimes instead stepped aside.

The parents of the twins? They could have filed charges. Instead, they summoned Dean and his parents and gave them all a stern talking-to.

The student and her mother? Either could have gone to the cops. Instead, they complained to everyone but the police.

The police officer who says Dean groped her? She could have slapped on the handcuffs herself. More than any other person in these scenarios (again, assuming all of them are true), she allowed a convicted child molester to continue breathing free air.

The language coach who heard the allegations from Dean’s daughter? She admitted doing nothing except telling the girl she should “tell someone.” Someone else, apparently.*

Anyone who believes Dean guilty should be furious. Multiple people, for more than two decades, failed to take even minimal action that at any point could have derailed criminal activity. Instead, for whatever reason, they gave it a pass.

What’s that old saying – all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing?

 

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com. Follow at twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

* Addendum: The language coach in this case says that she told the alleged victim to contact law enforcement or school authorities, and the girl refused out of family concerns. The language coach did not believe she could report the comments herself, thinking it would be hearsay, so no further action was taken.

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Comments (11)

AndrewLafa

Why?

Barry. You saw how Theodocian ripped into those kids. You saw the fallout. Look at the comments from councilman John Thigpen and others from Harlem. If a city official who was schmoozing with Dean backed him, do you really think a person with no pull would be believed? Do you really think that the woman police officer would have been taken seriously? We're talking accusations against Harlem's golden child. It's tough enough being a woman in law enforcement, especially since it is a male driven workplace. Do you really think she would have been given a fair shake?

How about you? We've seen the pictures of you schmoozing with Scott. What did you do when you heard the rumors? Did you go to the police or demand an investigation?

You are absolutely correct that anyone who believes Dean guilty should be furious. And we are. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of political cronyism and corruption in Harlem and Columbia County. It's not just Dean and his problems, it's much much deeper.

It's frustrating when some of us HAVE tried to get things looked into, but nothing comes of it. Its frustrating when we contact the paper with this information and it is ignored. And when we try to use the comment board as a last resort to voice our concerns, it is removed by Sean Moores with him saying "we can't verify it"

So what more are we supposed to do?

Riverman1

Well Said Andrew Lafa

Andrew presents the reality. Barry, I note you left out the county employee affair. I think the soldier husband of the woman should bring a massive lawsuit against the county. Dean was her superior in the county scheme of government.

Riverman1

Wrong to Slam Others

The more I think about this editorial, the more it bothers me. I'm sure those people are going to feel they are somehow responsible for Dean molesting his adopted daughters.

We all know Dean was powerful in the county. He was part of the Ron Cross-Mike Sleeper power structure. Few openly confronted him. Employees, such as a deputy would certainly fear repercussions. A school girl in Harlem and her mother, also.

I'll bet you many knew of his inappropriate behavior with the county employee, but did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, but wink. These people are not lowly deputies either. They were powerful enough not to fear him.

I was chastised on these very boards by many when I brought up Dean's character. But after reading this editorial I wish I had done even more. I feel like maybe I didn't do enough. Maybe he could have been stopped. Dang.

Craig Spinks

Well-said, Riverman1.

I have a friend whose daughter was one of several victims of the notorious female-molester McCladdie at Greenbrier High in the early years of this century. My friend has brought her concerns about school authorities' turning blind eyes and deaf ears to McCladdie's egregious misbehaviors to the notice of several responsible figures and agencies to no avail. Fortunately, the courageous actions of our sheriff and a former DA as well as Charlie Nagle's accession to SOS have ended the culture of cover-up which marked the superintendencies of some of Charlie's predecessors.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

AndrewLafa

Bothers me too

Bingo Riverman. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. However, there was a slightly positive side to this editorial, because it makes you think that someone or some people should be held responsible for turning a blind eye.

Some of the testimony at the trial leads me to believe that family and/or friends were trying to cover Dean's tracks. I think warrants an investigation. Seriously, how can a person go on a thirty year groping spree and not be noticed or suspicioned by those closest to them?

Riverman1

Still Wrong

This whole concept that others should have done more to stop Dean lends itself to examination. In the other editorial, it’s said his political opponents reacted with “unseemly glee” over Dean’s arrest-conviction.

Let’s look at how it all surfaced again. There was Textgate. The fear of confronting him was certainly on the minds of others after they saw him emerge untouched after this episode, win reelection and do his Superman thing. Ron Cross was joking at official functions about Dean’s problems.

After Textgate I started to attack Dean in the papers pretty hard. In addition, there were rumors about his character that are mentioned in the column above. I knew about some of those, but obviously not about his daughters because that came out later.

I felt perfectly justified in attacking him in the face of much opposition, including one law enforcement officer who used to try to bait me here into saying something libelous.

So the question arises, if there was a concrete problem with him because of Textgate and many knew of the other rumors, why didn’t the media and political officials speak out more? Instead we slam the helpless victims of Dean’s predatory practices who had already seen him go unscathed after inappropriate behavior that involved the very workings of county government?

After DFACS became involved, rumors started to surface about him and his daughters. This is where the disconnect hits. We already KNEW about his relationship with the married county employee thanks to Scott Hudson’s reports. The husband had the messages and knew when his wife had visited Dean and so on. We knew the earlier rumors about his behavior at the school and with the officer. So why would we immediately deny the discussion about his sexual conduct with his daughters? Hadn’t his character already been exposed?

I first learned of the charges that landed him in jail reading a column here that basically chastised some who were apparently saying things about Dean’s inappropriate conduct with his daughters. They were called disgusting charges or something like that. See many were not about to believe charges from anyone. Excuses had been made for him often enough.

There’s a lot of blame to go around here, but the other victims of his inappropriate behavior are certainly not on the list. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll take a lot of the blame for not going after Dean more when I was clearly seeing his character for what it is.

Riverman1

Who to Blame

Deleting this post since my original, lengthier one, was posted later. It's kind of confusing to have both here. I was going to break it up into a few posts since I assumed it was too long for one post.

LBenedict

You are absolutely correct

You are absolutely correct (both of y'all). Ron Cross was indeed making jokes and others turned and looked away. And there were Superman references. Dean and Sarah Harper Scott were so giddy at the GOP breakfast flaunting their "victory". The Facebook posts. The threats made by Dean supporters to me and others. Where are Dean's buddies today? They are in deep deep hiding. This trial raised more questions than answers:
The money sent out of the country - how much and for what purpose?
Will Sarah Harper Scott be charged with obstruction and with witness tampering?
Ben Harbin testifying as a character witness - why would someone of his stature and with his history vouch for Scott Dean? He probably has a vested interest in Dean's freedom. Is he running for reelection? If he is, he may have earned a challenger or two. Remember, his last challenger received 31% against the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He is NO LONGER in that position.
How much did Dean's lawyer charge and how was it paid?
Will Dean "talk" in exchange for a "better place" in which to serve his sentence? Sure, he may keep quiet with the hopes that his silence will be rewarded when he becomes a free man. But, that will not help him one bit in Reidsville.

The good old boys took one on the chin this week and the bruise will be visible for some time. Will this have any influence on Barry Fleming's race? He made no friends with his sleazy campaign against Paul Broun, and Dean's conviction, coupled with their closeness, can't help his cause.

AndrewLafa

Lee-Dean's buddies are hiding

Lee-Dean's buddies are hiding out in plain sight in Harlem. I know I sound like a broken record, but some of the dirtiest deeds are still happening right here because Harlem politics is all but ignored in Col.County. They are festering like gangrene and the flies are swarming, and this is where ugly is taking it's first steps.

Barry Fleming. There's another sore. I don't think-and I hope-he will ever be able to get elected again. He's made too many enemies, and his dirty secrets are floating around town. The only people who support him is the city administration and Harlem elected officials.
I want to know how he was able to act as city attorney for several cities and be representative at the same time. Major conflict of interest you would think. Fleming has covered up a lot of the dirty deeds in Harlem done by the city administration and elected officials, so they really have no choice but to support him.Take a couple hours to read the city minutes over the past few years, you'll get an inkling of what I'm talking about. You won't find the details-they've been glossed over-but there are several WTF moments in there that make you go hmmmmmm... What was started by Dean in Harlem is just being continued and taken even farther.

Riverman1

Thanks for Posting My Comment

Barry, thanks for posting my entire earlier comment that was held up in the hopper. Even though your focus with this editorial is wrong, I appreciate you letting me tell how it was with me when I was going after Dean pretty hard. I'm sure you remember that was an interesting time with me going after Dean, ceaselessly, that you and some others didn't approve of at the time.

Riverman1

For the Record I Support...

I have always supported Barry Fleming and still do.

I used to support Ben Harbin, but not anymore. That's because of his support for Dean and his receiving campaign contributions from the Magnolia Trace operatives, in addition to his past problems.

I'm still undecided about Mike Sleeper. He was deeply involved with Scott Dean to the point where Dean was shifting his campaing contributions to Sleeper for at least $2,000.

I'd like to know what Sleeper did with those contributions. Honestly, I've heard more about them that I won't say here. Sleeper is a brother Army vet with me and I take that loyalty seriously. I hope he turns out okay. What I like is that he refused to testify as a character witness for Dean. That means he is not TOO scared of what Dean may say.

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