A Former East Texas Teacher Apparently Escapes Justice Through Legal Loophole - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/22/07

A Former East Texas Teacher Apparently Escapes Justice Through Legal Loophole

He was accused of sending messages, sexual in nature, to one of his 15 year old students. Later, a former East Texas teacher admitted to actually kissing the young girl on school grounds.

Andy Malone was one of three Brownsboro teachers with criminal charges leveled against him in 2005. The other two are currently serving time, but the charges against Malone were dropped even though there is a taped interview where Malone admits to many of the allegations.

Tonight, a KLTV 7 in-depth investigation reveals what Malone says happened between he and the student in his own words.

Lindsay Wilcox exposes the legal loopholes that allows him to keep work with students everyday.

Investigator Kevin Hanes with the Henderson County Sheriff's Department worked the case against Andy Malone along with the Texas Rangers. Hanes says the relationship was initiated by a 15 year old student when she began text messaging Malone, but soon, the teacher started writing back.  The two exchanged more than 100 messages; each one becoming more sexual in nature.

Here's a portion of the recorded interrogation given exclusively to KLTV by the girl's mother.

Malone: "She asked me a question; if I had ever been with a student before, and I said, 'No.  I never have. I've never thought about it, and I never would.' And, uh, that's when I started to feel a little bit uneasy about it."

But the text messaging didn't stop. Malone admits he and the student began "talking dirty" to each other.

Investigator: "Did y'all talk about sexual positions or what she liked or maybe what you would want to do to her or what she would want to do to you? Anything like that?"

Malone: "Yes, there's a possibility."

During the interview, Malone says he met the student behind her work at a mexican restaurant and at a local cemetery where he admits the two kissed briefly. Then, there was one last meeting he says happened in the in school suspension room at Brownsboro High School.

Malone: "It was right there at the ISS room. Yes, sir."

Investigator: "And then ya'll kissed right there for a brief second?"

Malone: "Yes, sir."

Investigator:  "And then ya'll went your separate ways?"

Malone: "Yes, sir."

Investigator: "And she said right after that, at the ISS room, she said that you sent a text message to her saying something, 'I wanted to do you right there?' Do you remember making that comment?"

Malone: "There's a possibility. I don't... Like I said, I can't recall every text. There's a possibility because that..."

Investigator: "I understand, but that kind of conversation did occur?"

Malone: "Yes, sir."

Investigator: "Okay."

Investigator Hanes tried to pursue charges of online solicitation of a minor, but at the time, text messaging was not covered under the law. Instead, a Henderson County grand jury heard it as a criminal solicitation of a minor case.  The grand jury returned a misdemeanor indictment for assualt; charges the county attorney says were not supported by the facts in the case. Those charges were then dismissed.

"It's very frustrating. I feel like he's one of the one's... He should be in trouble. He should face charges, but unfortunatley, with the way the laws are written, he was one of the one's that made it through the loop holes and slipped through the cracks unfortunately," says Hanes.

In March of this year, Andy Malone voluntarily surrendered his teacher's certificate to the Texas Education Agency in lieu of disciplinary proceedings and possible revocation of his certificate. It makes it more difficult for him to teach in Texas public schools, but Malone is still working with children.

Currently, Andy Malone lives and works in the Dallas area. He's the center director at Velocity Sports Performance in Highland Park.  It's an elite private coaching facility where, everyday, he's in constant contact with some of the areas best young athletes.

We took our cameras inside Velocity to try and talk with Malone but were quickly whisked outside.

Malone referred us to his attorney in Athens who told us he was unable to comment on the matter. 

Velocity Sports Performance Center issued this statement saying the company ran a background check on Malone and that no charges turned up against him.

"We consider ourselves both legally and ethically bound to Mr. Malone since he has performed his job with distinction, and he had no criminal record or pending charges. That being said, it is important to note that Velocity Sports Performance Centers clearly advocates in operations training that coaches and athletes or adults and minors are not to be alone at any time. This position is not in response to any event, but rather in keeping with what we believe to be in the interest of our employees and customers. Velocity Sports Performance stands behind its reputation and its employees, and should someone come forward with evidence of wrongdoing, we will take appropriate, immediate action."

It should be noted that Andy Malone was never convicted of any crime in connection with this incident.

According to the Texas Penal Code, the charge the Henderson County DA pursued, criminal solicitation of a minor, can happen 'by any means.' It left one legal expert we talked to wondering why that charge didn't stick.

To ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again, Texas State Representative Betty Brown of Athens introduced a bill adding text messaging to the online solicitation statute. It's been passed in the Texas House and Senate and is on it's way to the governor.

Kevin Hanes and the girl's mother both testified on behalf of the bill.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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