By Jen Para | 10:26 am Feb. 26, 2019 CDT | Updated 11:57 am Feb. 26, 2019 CDT
A private investigator found no evidence of fraud, corruption, witness tampering, perjury or dishonesty in the Katy ISD Police Department after a claim of such by a Katy resident.
That is according to a Feb. 25 presentation and report to the board of trustees from Harry Jones, an attorney with Littler Mendelson PC.
He was hired by the district’s general counsel and superintendent Jan. 30 to investigate Jan. 28 claims by Sean Dolan—of grassroots organization A Better Legacy and candidate for Position 1 on the school board—that district police allegedly altered records to protect the district at the cost of sending students to jail.
“We can certify, and I do certify tonight, the Dolan claims are not supported by the facts,” Jones said. “They are not corroborated by any witness. They are not suggested at all by the circumstances. And they are devoid of proof.
“If someone brings forward some sort of proof or document or person that we haven’t talked to, I’m open to that still. But I’m telling you that right now there is no incriminating statement that was found to be altered for the purpose of convicting a student falsely.”
Jones and his team interviewed over 50 people and reviewed thousands of documents to come to this conclusion, he said. He added the direction he was given was to report any potential crimes—such as suborning perjury, official oppression, witness tampering, possible federal civil rights violations or fraud—to authorities.
KISD used an outside firm to conduct the investigation so it would not investigate itself and create more opportunities for corruption, per the report. Additionally, it was stressed by Jones and KISD administration that the investigation was not of Dolan but of his claims the police department was altering case files, which is a criminal offense.
At the open forum during the Jan. 14 KISD board meeting, Dolan said a former district police officer spoke to him about a “disturbing account” of the district. Dolan asked if the board or the superintendent would meet with him to discuss the account in private.
Superintendent Ken Gregorski spoke with Dolan after a January meeting and offered to speak with the originator of the corruption claim, but Dolan refused, per the report.
On Jan. 28, Dolan published a post, per the report, that stated: “Police statements from students are being changed by Katy ISD police to protect the district. These statements are later used in real courts to sentence real students to real jails.”
Additionally, on Jan. 7, Dolan submitted a public information request for five case files, according to the report. Dolan later told Jones that of the five cases, only one had been corrupted, per the report. Dolan said he had done this to prevent the district from covering up the alleged file tampering, per the report.
Jones said he asked Dolan multiple times for his cooperation in person and email, but the latter did not provide any additional information. As a result, Jones said he and his team investigated each of the five files and pursued other avenues that may have led to discovering potential evidence of Dolan’s claims.
Jones and his team interviewed the reviewing officers of each of the five cases, and for two cases, the team reinvestigated from start to finish, per the report. Jones and his team interviewed 25 current officers and 10 departed officers and found no evidence of tampering, per the report. The police department was cooperative, Jones said.
“All five files identified in the PIR request are actually solid examples of good policing,” Jones said. “Any department scrutinized by a team such as mine will have areas for improvement. And any such findings were minor and involved mundane processes.”
According to the report, Dolan was the only person or entity that undermined or diverted Jones’ investigation. Jones stated the investigation totaled about 80-100 hours at a rate of $475 per hour.
“The district is less well-served by the Dolan claims, which wasted the taxpayer moneys, which Mr. Dolan could have saved but chose not to,” Jones said.
Dolan provided a written statement to media at the Feb. 25 meeting. In it, Dolan confirmed Jones approached him and sent him several emails.
Dolan wrote he said he would provide his full cooperation but also alleged there was a conflict of interest because Jones’ employer, Littler Mendelson, formerly employed Justin Graham, the district’s general council.
“My primary concern is that an investigation of this nature should be carried out by trained law enforcement officials, at no cost to taxpayers,” Dolan said in the statement. “An investigation by trained law enforcement not only ensures that a robust process is followed, by someone with the ability to exercise authority, but it also comes at no cost the taxpayers of this community and with assurance of objectivity.”
In an emailed statement, Dolan said he is working with legislators to craft a bill to prevent school boards from investigating citizens who have not committed a crime.
He also said in the email he “feels that the district is attempting to intimidate me as a candidate running for school [board]at minimum as well as teetering on electioneering by smearing a candidate they do not want to win.”
After Jones’ presentation at the Feb. 25 meeting, board members posed questions to him and Graham for clarification.
Among the questions, board member George Scott asked if the board could discuss civil action in the future against the alleged claims that were found by Jones and his team to have no evidence supporting them. Grahman replied that it was an action that could be considered for discussion.
Additionally, board member Susan Gesoff thanked the police officers for their full cooperation and service to the district.
“Thank you for showing up every day,” she said. “Thank you for protecting our children and our community. Thank you for working nights and weekends. Thank you for being the ones who run in when the rest of us want to run out. Thank you for your service. Thank you for loving our kids.”