DAVENPORT, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A dean from Horizon Elementary School in Davenport was arrested on Monday evening and charged with two counts of failure to report child abuse. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters during a news conference that Courtney Stanley is in trouble with the law for what he did not do.
“After his arrest last night, we explained to him the child had been sexually abused three more times, because of his failure to report, and his statement was, ‘I could have been her voice.’ And he wasn’t. He didn’t do what he should have done,” Sheriff Judd said.
This all came to light after a 70-year-old Polk County schools bus driver, Carlos Ojeda, was arrested and charged with sexually abused special needs students on his bus. Judd said the investigation into Ojeda revealed that two male students reported Ojeda touching very young students on the bus inappropriately, and Judd says Stanley did nothing about it.
Investigators said the first witness came forward on April 8. “On the 12th, our second witness meets with the Dean Courtney Stanley and he tells the dean that Carlos is bad. He’s bad, because he’s touching girls on the bus,” said Sheriff Judd.
The Sheriff and Polk County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said all Stanley had to do was report the allegations, and that it is the job of the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Sheriff's Office to investigate.
Sheriff Judd said the two witnesses had gotten in trouble on the bus for cursing and had to speak to a guidance counselor on April 13. Investigators said that’s when the boys told the guidance counselor what they saw happening on the bus and had reported it to Dean Stanley.
"Boys, young boy are our witnesses... they witnessed this inappropriate conduct, and they kept telling people, until someone listened,” said Sheriff Judd. “We are absolutely livid about the dean not immediately making the report. Had he immediately made the report, we could have avoided three more episodes of the 4-year-old baby being violently abused.”
Sheriff Judd said investigators asked Stanley why he didn’t make a report after the first child came to him with allegations. “The dean of students said this 10-year-old boy says crazy things all the time, so he just dismissed it,” said Sheriff Judd. “When a child alleges conduct like this, remember the more bizarre it is, the greater the chances it’s the truth. You can’t make this stuff up. No one in their wildest imagination makes this stuff up.”
Judd said if Stanley is convicted on the two felony charges against him, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Stanley’s bond was set at $2,000. Polk County Schools said Stanley has been suspended from his job at Horizon Elementary, and could be terminated soon.