Laws In Texas

School Superintendent’s Sexual Misconduct Documents Now Public

School Superintendent Stetson Roane began to tell me how much he wanted to ‘curl my toes’ sexually” Dean alleged in complaint.

LIT COMMENTARY

This is an update to our February 2020 article regarding Mr [and Mrs] Sloane.

Complaint against former Seguin ISD superintendent made public

Originally Published; Aug 12, 2020
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Documents connected with the sexual harassment investigation of a former Seguin ISD superintendent have been released to the public and include handwritten notes from a central office employee that allege crude and sexual comments about staff and a neighboring superintendent.

The release of the information comes more than three and a half years after the complaint was first filed against then superintendent Stetson Roane. Roane launched a series of objections in district court and an appeals court to try and keep the information private after the Texas Attorney General found that it was public record.

The complainant, Seguin ISD’s special education coordinator Halcy Dean, said the past three years have been trying, but she’s glad to see the information become public.

“This has been a difficult ordeal for both me and my family,” she said. “I’m glad that the public is finally getting to know the factual details of what I and others endured while working within Stetson Roane’s administration.”

The notes from the central office employee were one of the things turned over to an investigator. They include allegations about Roane’s behavior and work ethic, as well as accusing him of making graphic comments in the office in front of staff members about current board members, another superintendent, the community as well employees from a former district.

The document was not part of the investigation into the complaint but was given to the investigating attorney.

Back and forth between attorneys

The 75 pages of documents released Monday night include correspondence between the attorneys for the district, Roane’s attorney Tony Conners, the complainant’s attorney Karl Tiger Hanner and the outside investigating attorney Richard Arnett.

In a Feb. 1 email from Conners to Arnett, Conners asked for the complaint prior to Roane’s meeting Arnett for the investigation.

“I would like to know what she is specifically alleging,” Conners wrote. “Please send so we can respond with specific information, and make Mr. Roane available for questioning.”

Arnett agreed to give Conners a copy of the complaint after he interviewed Roane, the lawyer stated in an email the following day.

“As to her allegations, I believe that it is fair for your client to provide his independent recollection of the events of Jan. 17 prior to reviewing her account,” Arnett wrote. “As I previously noted to you that (complainant) gave her account without seeing your client’s version of events.”

The investigating attorney said he would allow a follow up interview and give Roane the ability to respond in writing to the allegations laid out in the complaint after the initial interview.

The complaint

The alleged incident occurred during a conference in Austin which both Dean and Roane attended on Jan. 17, 2017.

The official complaint was not made to the district until Jan. 26, 2017, nine days after. Dean stated she waited several days to file the report after becoming ill.

Dean wrote the superintendent was not registered to attend the event, but insisted on having a room at the hotel where the event was held.

The complainant wrote she gave up her room for Roane to stay for the second half of the conference, while she booked another room elsewhere for her to stay.

She wrote that after dinner and drinks with colleagues and Roane, the superintendent insisted he escort her back to her new hotel and then he persisted in helping her carry her luggage to the room. It was inside the room where Dean said Roane made unwanted, verbal sexual advances toward her, took off his coat, jacket and tie. She said she tried to kindly reject her bosses advances.

“Roane began to tell me how much he wanted to ‘curl my toes’ sexually” she wrote. “… I was doing all I could to tell him I could support him as a friend and that he didn’t want to mess up our working relationship. I was talking fast to keep him calm and to reject him in a polite way.”

Roane responds

In his response, Roane denied many of the claims alleged including making sexual comments, removing his clothes or trying to have sex with the complainant.

Roane also questioned several aspects of her claim and countered with actions he said were omitted — including making sexual innuendos toward him in front of other employees the day after the alleged incident.

He also claimed Dean called him to her office and sent her secretary away to have a private conversation with him after Jan. 17, 2017.

“The office visit request by (complainant) should be on district video,” he wrote. “Why would (complainant) call me to her office and shut the door and ask the secretary to leave after the alleged incident.”

Roane refuted the allegation saying the statements made against him were false and that he “did not make the sexual comments or seek a romantic relationship…”

The days after

In an effort to keep her job, Dean said she tried to act as normal as possible the following days after. She went as far as to text him to say she enjoyed working with him, she wrote.

“I was trying to smooth this over and maintain my composure and keep my job,” she said. “I thought if I acted mad or upset it would cause him to go after me professionally. I had to just be cool.”

Roane maintained the text messages were evidence that nothing happened in the night before.

“Her described conduct along with her text messages are consistent with the truth of nothing having happened between us,” he wrote in his rebuttal.

Roane contended that there was no evidence to support the allegations, that they were false and there was no reason for the complainant to fear repercussions.

The end

Following the investigation, the school board accepted Roane’s resignation in February 2017. As part of an agreement, Seguin ISD paid Roane $94,500 minus any required deductions as part of his resignation. The district also put his wife Denise Graves-Roane on paid administrative leave from March 6, 2017, through the end of that school year. Graves-Roane earned about $120,000 a year as the executive director of federal programs and school improvement. She resigned June 30, 2017.

Roane is now superintendent at Raymondville ISD.

In a prepared statement from an attorney who formerly represented Roane, the former Seguin ISD superintendent maintained his innocence and denied any wrongdoing.

“In 2017, I was falsely accused of sexual harassment by an employee of Seguin ISD,” he said. “I have denied and continue to deny the allegations made against me. At the time of the accusations, I decided it was in the best interest of my family and Seguin ISD to move on. I entered into a separation agreement with the district.”

The legal battle continues

Following Roane’s resignation from the district, Dean filed a lawsuit against him seeking damages related to “severe emotional distress and mental anguish, and significant medical bills” that resulted from Roane’s alleged actions. In the court filing, Dean asked for punitive damages “in a sufficient amount to punish defendant for his reckless, heedless and intentional conduct, and to set an example for others that such conduct will not be tolerated in a civilized society.”

In his statement, Roane said the lawsuit was dismissed saying there was “no merit behind the allegations,” he wrote. “I have moved on from this difficult time of my life, my hope is that others can too. I will not allow for someone to make false accusations against me. I wish the community of Seguin ISD nothing but the best.”

Dean said she has filed a petition to have the Texas Supreme Court hear her case.

“It was not dismissed, I lost an appeal, but we’re petitioning for the Texas Supreme Court to hear it,” she said. “This is just for my right to sue him. I’m fighting for my right to sue him for sexual harassment.”

Dean chose to speak publicly to hopefully help give other victims of sexual harassment a voice.

“Each time this comes up, I have to relive the details of what happened and it is very stressful, but it is important to me that other women who experience harassment in the workplace feel they can come forward and speak out,” she said. “Violence gets you nowhere. Coming forward is difficult, but women can no longer tolerate being treated this way and must come forward.”

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