[Editor’s Note: This story is indicative of long standing problems in Cleveland County and will be told in several parts here and in later writings. Many of these parts, as this sex scandal investigation, arrest, trial, etc. plays out, will include things that other news outlets, the CCS School Board, County Commissioners and other agencies will not tell. But when put together, like pieces of a puzzle, are important in understanding how such bad things are allowed to happen in Cleveland County. And how many similar incidents have been covered up.]
For me the beginning of this particular scandal began several years ago at a Cleveland County Commissioner’s meeting when Danny Blanton showed up and signed up to speak to the Commissioners. I had never laid eyes on Danny Blanton but became interested pretty quick when Danny told the Commissioners about what he believed was large scale financial misconduct at Cleveland County Schools. Danny presented a stack of papers to the Commissioners, but you could tell the Commissioners, including Jason Falls and Eddie Holbrook who are up for election this year, were not interested. Neither was the Shelby Star reporter who told Danny Blanton that she would have to ask her editor before she could write an article about the alleged financial misconduct at CCS.
Several years later Danny Blanton was back to the Commissioners again alleging financial misconduct at CCS. Again the Commissioners didn’t want to hear it. Danny Blanton was not to get any help from the Commissioners, but I became interested in the doing at CCS and decided to check things out for myself. Beginning with the 2013 CCS Board of Education elections.
I attended a Town Hall Forum put on by Brendan LeGrand for the CCS Board 2013 Election and was appalled by what I heard from the incumbent CCS Board members about the CCS financial misconduct allegations. Danny Blanton by this time had gotten the NC State Auditor and SBI involved and was himself running for the School Board. Challengers Danny Blanton and Donnie Thurman Jr. won seats on the CCS Board while Kathy Falls and Phillip Glover won re-election.
I attended the swearing in of the new School Board members. When the old Board members began shutting out Danny Blanton from participating in School Board discussions, I decided to research myself the allegations of financial misconduct and get to the bottom of the financial doings at CCS by filing Freedom of Information Act requests for the CCS credit card transactions. I quickly became Public Enemy No 1 for the CCS Board as well as the County Commissioners when I asked for their support for getting CCS financial records. I suppose the Commissioners were already mad at me for asking for the financial records of the suspicious and secret $100 million sale of the Hospital properties. It seems the Commissioners were acting just the same as the CCS Board. Everybody in Cleveland County Government appears to want do the peoples business in secret, even when the law says the peoples business is to be done in public.
The Sex Scandal discovery and reporting
By now everybody knows that naked pictures and a pornographic masturbation videos of Burns Middle School Science Teacher Caron Blanton were discovered on a students electronic device on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by school officials and the Sheriff’s Department has responded. The story reached me early the next day. Hal Trammell of Shelby News-Opinion (http://shelbynews-opinion.com/media/) and I discussed the opportunity to “Scoop” the Shelby Star and the TV news on the Sex Scandal at Burns Middle School story. The opportunity was “ripe” for the picking to show CCS and the Star that their cover-ups and deceptions were gone with the wind and the truth about CCS was going to come out-no matter what. But cooler heads prevailed and we both realized that this scandal was much bigger that just CCS and their “soft” news coverage from the Shelby Star. Watching how the Sheriff’s Department, the DA’s Office as well as the Commissioners, the CCS Board and the Star would act if they thought no one else was looking (but we were actually looking closely) would be the best way to handle this situation. A CCS Board meeting the next Monday and a Commissioner’s meeting the next day also factored in on our decision to miss out on scooping the Star. So we laid back, did our research and waited. This story and all its parts would soon get started. And it did indeed.
When the TV News trucks showed up, as well as myself, at the Courthouse that Friday and the Star rushed out their phony story about a “former” teacher at Burns Middle School being investigated, I drafted up my article-but did not publish it just yet. First, I sent the article by e-mail to the CCS Superintendent, Bruce Boyles, as well as Sheriff, the entire CCS Board of Education and all County Commissioners. I asked them for comments. Moments later I received an e-mail notification that my e-mail to Boyles and the Board of Education could not be delivered. So, I checked my original e-mail in case I had mis-typed the e-mail addresses. There were no mistakes so I sent it again. And again I received the message that the e-mail to Boyles and the CCS Board could not be delivered. Then I realized that the CCS e-mail system must have been deliberately shut down to avoid anybody “officially” telling CCS officials anything about the sex scandal so they could claim they didn’t know. The messages went through to the Sheriff and Commissioners-twice. Their e-mail system worked. It was then that I figured out what lengths CCS would go to keep the lid on the truth about CCS. So, I published the Sex Scandal at Burns Middle School article on the internet that most of you have already read. But folks, there is much more to be told.
Reaction to my first article-Sex Scandal at Burns Middle School
Most responses and comments to my article were well thought out and appropriate to what has happened. Most people were glad to see the truth coming out about CCS, but not all. Some comments on my website article accused the victim of being a snitch, personally attacked the victim, used profane language, etc. I banned all comments with serious profanity, but otherwise let all other comments come through as you have seen but most comments that also appear to blame the victim, but without profanity were let through. Most comments like that were taken on by my reply or the replies of other readers who saw through such “ad hominem” shenanigans.
But there were other reactions that were totally intended to muddy the waters in such a way as to label my article and all comments as just vicious unfounded rumors that are not to be believed. One phony story was started that I wrote the article “because I had been married to Caron Blanton and I was crazy.” I laughed out loud when I heard that one. was told that that story had come from a “respectable” woman in the community who had heard that from a friend that she trusted. My advice to that so-called respectable woman is to find some new friends.
Even though that phony story that I was married to Caron Blanton was funny to me, I realized it instantly for what it was–An “ad hominem” (kill the messenger) attack that was meant to discredit me and, as a consequence, discredit my article and discredit those that read and commented on my article. The aim of such an outrageous lie is to mix it in with valid comments on what happened at Burns Middle School and then say all the comments are unfounded rumors and NONE of it should be believed. This is an old Cleveland County trick and most of you that have read this story recognize the MO. Some of the comments on my article, such as the one that claim my article is “propaganda” and those that read it “are fake Christians looking for a scandal.” Folks, whether anyone is a fake Christian or not, there is a scandal here so look out for an organized attempt to cover-up or minimize the misconduct and crimes at CCS and elsewhere in Cleveland County government. Remember, this is an Election Year and Jason Falls and Eddie Holbrook want everybody to believe that everything in Cleveland County is going well and you should re-elect them for all the good that they have done. Don’t fall for such bull-ony. Where is your part of the Hospital sale that was done totally in secret? Ask Jason and Eddie how has that secret deal benefited you or any other citizen in Cleveland County. Next year is an Election Year for the School Board. Boy what a bunch of questions to ask them.
More on the CCS Board and County Commissioners
The Monday, April 14, 2014 School Board meeting was packed with school principals and their families. Sources report Superintendent Dr. Bruce Boyles sent out a message to all CCS principals that he “expected” them to be at the Board meeting. That is an old trick too–bring out all your employees so you can say “look at the support that we have.” The meeting was a sham. No member except Danny Blanton would let any discussion about what happened at Burns Middle School come out. Not even one word. When the Personnel Report Section of the Agenda came up, the section that showed Caron Blanton had resigned, Danny Blanton made the motion to go into closed session to discuss the report, which was totally correct. But no other Board member would second Danny Blanton’s motion so it died. Then CCS Board Chairman Jack Hamrick put the Personnel Report to a vote without any discussion allowed.-a totally illegal procedure. The vote was 8-1 to approve. Only Danny Blanton voted no. The CCS Board had totally ignored the Caron Blanton issue and Jack Hamrick threatened Danny Blanton in the process. I intend to write a letter of complaint to the State Board of Elections and to the Department of Public Instruction in Raleigh. Danny Blanton was elected by the people to represent the people, no matter if Jack Hamrick, Kathy Falls, Phillip Glover, Roger Harris, Donnie Thurman, Jr., Jerry Hoyle, Richard Hooker, Shearra Miller and Bruce Boyles are offended or not.
As far as the Commissioners go, at the Commissioners meeting on Tuesday night, not a peep was said about the problems at CCS. The Cleveland County Commissioners tax the people of Cleveland County for schools and then turn over the money to CCS without one bit of oversight. Same with DSS. The Commissioners said DSS is doing a good job with the limited resources that they get. LIMITED resources!!! is what they said. It is too bad that we can’t get rid of all the Commissioners in this 2014 Election Cycle. The way it is right now is we can only get rid of Jason Falls or Eddie Holbrook by voting for Willie McIntosh. Folks, if we want to change Cleveland County, more people are going to have to run for office and the rest of us vote for them to get rid of all the dead wood in Cleveland County Government. That is the only way alleged perverts like Caron Blanton will ever get the true justice that they deserve.
Part II-Sex Scandal at Burns Middle School
Burns Middle School Science teacher and FaceBook exhibitionist Caron Blanton was under investigation since Wednesday April 9, 2014 for a large number of felony charges (sources originally said 14 felony charges). Yet the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office let Caron Blanton go out of state to see a Braves game in Atlanta over the weekend. In our first article we speculated Caron Blanton could have gone to Mexico if she wanted to. Apparently Caron Blanton did not think she would be arrested when she came back from Hotlanta.
As it is it appears the DA may have reduced the charges to only nine (9) felony charges as that is the final number of felony charges that Caron Blanton ended up being charged with on Tuesday April 15, 2014. Caron Blanton was NOT arrested, handcuffed and drove to jail as you and I would have been. “Cuffed and Stuffed” they call it. No cuffing and stuffing for Caron Blanton. She was allowed to get her bail arranged, turn herself in and walk right back out the door of the jail house like a Hollywood celebrity. The smirky sneer on her mugshot was Caron Blantons only indication of emotion-like she was PO’d about the whole thing.
I attended Caron Blanton’s first court appearance on Wednesday April 16. Folks, everyone in Cleveland County ought to go Court Watching at least one time. The inefficiency at the Courthouse and in the Courtroom is staggering. I had gotten there early and went to the Clerk of Court’s Office to check out the charges to see if they were felonies or misdemeanors. No reports until now actually told this. The charges were all felonies. Caron Blanton is in a heap of trouble whether she wants to admit it or not.
Anyway, at 9:00AM in Courtroom #2, Assistant District Attorney Katie Sawyer called out the names of people that were charged. Caron Blanton’s name was called out last and nobody answered. ADA Sawyer laid Caron Blanton’s stack of nine felony charges over to the side in a bin on the desk. A few other curious lawyers wondered over and looked at the charges as everybody at the prosecutors desk were chit-chatting for about a half hour. There were at least four Highway Patrolmen and one other law enforcement officers, Channel 3 and Channel 9 TV sitting there waiting like everyone else in the Courtroom-everyone except for Caron Blanton.
At 9:30 ADA Sawyer called out the names again for the people who had not answered the first time. Again, Caron Blanton’s name was called out last. Attorney Daniel Talbert (in with the David Teddy and Meekins Law Firm) reached out and ADA Sawyer handed him the thick stack of charges. At 9:31AM DA Rick Shaffer walked in and talked with Attorney Talbert about Caron Blanton’s charges. I had a front row seat but could not hear what was said. I know they were talking about Caron Blanton’s charges because they were passing them back and forth and looking through Caron Blanton’s unmistakable stack of charges. After about five minutes Shaffer was gone.
Around 9:55AM Judge Larry Wilson came in and the Court began trying cases. Caron Blanton, like the Hollywood movie stars and Paris Hilton didn’t have to appear in court like everybody else to face their charges. The Star has reported that Caron Blanton’s next court appearance is May 14, 2014. I had a front row seat and like Caron Blanton, I saw no Star reporter in the courtroom. The Star, like Caron Blanton must also get preferential treatment.
But that is not the end of today’s story.
When I got home from the courthouse there was a letter in my mailbox addressed to Citizens For Good Government without a return address. This is still good ole Cleveland County and people are still afraid for their jobs or their children’s jobs or for their children in school. Especially if they work for Cleveland County or their kids go to CCS schools. And especially if they work for CCS. It is the 21st Century and people are still afraid to speak out if they can be recognized.
I know that but that doesn’t mean I like it or that I will let myself ever fear the In-Crowd in Cleveland County. The contents of the letter are as follows:
“Dear Mr. Williams,
Phillip Glover is friends with Caron Blanton on Facebook. He would know kids and teachers being friends on facebook is inappropriate. He had to surely have seen all the pics on his newsfeed. So, why did he allow this to happen and did nothing about it? He MUST step down immediately. YOU are our only hope for Justice for this perverted teacher to go to PRISON for a very LONG time. Also, Many teachers have complained to Dr. Boyles for several years about how she dresses- mini skirts, low cut tops for teaching school….and nothing was EVER done.
Look at this pic of her and the victim on Facebook. She refers to him as her Baseball hero and says “me and E”….She was open about their relationship and him only 14 !!!
I am a concerned parent and ALL the school BOARD must step DOWN especially GLOVER !!!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!”
The letter included a screen shot of Caron Blanton’s facebook page marked up to show pictures of the her with the victim and her at the Braves game in a mini-skirt and a big smile on her face.
But note the sentence what I bolded in the letter. Teachers had notified Bruce Boyles years ago about Caron Blanton’s dress in the classroom. Young boys and girls seeing their teacher in mini-skirts and low cut tops. And Boyles did nothing, which meant the CCS Board let Boyles do nothing. I agree with the letter that the CCS Board should go. But I have done more than that.
I have sent the letter to Sheriff Alan Norman. the DA, the CCS Board, Boyles, Caron Blanton’s Attorney-Daniel Talbert and Channel 3 and 9 TV news. Perhaps the notification to Boyles over the years will affect the prosecution or defense in Caron Blanton’s trial. At least it should notify the CCS Board that they need to open their eyes to what is happening at CCS. Perhaps the State Board of Education will see fit to remove the local CCS Board.
Conclusion of Part II
In any event, I also filed a Freedom of Information Act Request asking for CCS Board member Phillip Glover’s e-mail records, CCS teacher Caron Blanton’s e-mail records and the e-mail records of all the rest of the CCS Board and Boyles. I will keep track of the events with the prosecution of Caron Blanton and any other related news. If anyone has anything to share, and are afraid to comment, send a letter to me and I will protect all sources of information
Take Care and Stay Tuned for the rest of the story.