Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lon Morris coach arrested for child porn at Cherokee County Jr. College

Warning: Cherokee County Texas institutions are bastions of child exploitation and employ purveyors of child pornography.

The mass exodus of Rusk Independent School District faculty members earlier this year is based upon the revelation that protected locals and administration officials with a penchant for photography have been under FBI scrutiny for years- stemming from the 2001-2002 Department of Justice crackdown of Palestine, Texas resident Mark Bates - the Webmaster of a worldwide e-mail child pornography ring originating from Internet servers in Anderson and Cherokee Counties. Why did the Rusk High School principal and all those Rusk ISD teachers and coaches turn in their resignations?

The FBI sting called "Operation Candyman" netted individuals throughout the country, including an A&M cadet in Brownsville and two men from the Houston,TX area. 89 subscribers total were indicted. Mark Bates, age 33 of Palestine, TX was sentenced in December 2002 to 30 years prison for being the mastermind and moderator of the website used to download images federal prosecutors called "absolutely appalling in the depth of their depravity." Many arrested subscribers to Mark Bates' email group (such as Toby Barnett from Lufkin, Texas) were people 'holding positions of trust with frequent contact with children.' Mark Bates had two prior child molestation convictions and a history of mental disorders.

The ongoing cover up of this type of depraved and illegal activity should show the rest of the state just how duplicitous Cherokee County Texas really is. Especially when local officials pretend to have no knowledge of kiddie porn being distributed from computers owned by the school district.
A place where under the guise of fake evangelicalism, the images of broken and bloody bodies of children have been traded like Green Stamps on the Internet for decades. While at the same time Cherokee County district attorney Elmer Beckworth offers probation to a Rusk Texas man who mutilated his own 12-month old daughter, and the district court voraciously accepts any and all plea bargains to over 3 dozen registered sex offenders within the county.

Mark Bates' child porn ring of 6 years ago apparently never ceased to exist outside the area, with ongoing federal sentences (such as Jeffrey Scott Ray of Nacogdoches and Toby Barnett of Lufkin, TX) never making it to the pressroom. The list continues.

Jacksonville, Texas:

Lon Morris College's head golf coach Barry Dean Griffin, age 38, has been arraigned in federal court for possession and distribution of child pornography. Coach Barry Griffin was arrested Monday, June 9, 2008 after surrendering to federal authorities in Tyler, Texas. According to the June 10, 2008 issue of the Tyler Paper, Lon Morris faculty member Barry Griffin : "has been charged by complaint for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography on May 30 in Cherokee County [Texas]. If convicted, he could face 5 to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years in prison for the possession charge."

Monday's appearance by Griffin in front of Tyler, TX based US Magistrate Judge John Love was reported here first. He has not been formally indicted.


Lon Morris College coach Barry Dean Griffin

Barry Griffin is a junior college Kinesiology instructor and coach for Jacksonville, Texas based Lon Morris and has been since 2005. The Lon Morris men's golf team took fourth place in a recently held NJCAA tournament in Huntsville, Alabama, with hotel accommodations arranged by the college. Griffin has also traveled out of state to Daytona, Florida where he accompanied the Lon Morris College girl's golf team, who took a 4th place prize at the women's NJCAA national championship games.

Similarly, the Jacksonville home of Rusk ISD drama coach Harold “Bo” Scallon was raided last year by federal authorities on a tip from the Longview, TX police department. The tip being that the High School teacher was distributing child pornography over the Internet. His personal laptop, school computer and hard drives were confiscated by the FBI. Scallon pleaded guilty on April 4, 2008 in federal court to possessing over 150 sadomasochistic images of minors. He taught for the Rusk Independent School District for nearly 30 years and with parents' blessings, participated in numerous overnight 'theater camps.' Due to a plea agreement, his child porn distribution charge was dropped by federal prosecutors, though he still faces decades in federal prison. Certainly the community and school administrators will rally around to petition for Mr. Scallon's early release and leniency prior to his sentencing date being reported. As they did with Alto, Texas postmaster Herbert Dominguez, prior to his federal sentencing for stealing $27,000 of United States Post Office material- but never reporting it.

Local Cherokee County, Texas media portray Rusk High School Theater class' Bo Scallon official retirement and contractual obligations to the school district as ending in April 2007, prior to the FBI raid. However, Harold "Bo" Scallon's continual employment with the Rusk ISD was apparent to the FBI because investigators seized his company computer from the Rusk High School and examined its hard drives. Forensics on his computers uncovered massive files storing violent and graphic depictions involving children.


mugshot of Rusk,TX teacher Harold "Bo" Scallon

The ongoing out-of-county reports of federal investigations compared to the nonexistent media coverage, nor local outcry, begs the question: Has Cherokee County, Texas always been a child molestation and child pornography refuge? Local offenders certainly do not have to worry about prison time if they cut deals with the Cherokee County District Attorney's office after falling in the hands of Elmer Beckworth .

View the locations of registered child molesters living steps from the Rusk Texas courthouse and Rusk Texas Jr.-Sr. High Schools mapped on a website called FamilyWatchdog .

Found at: http://www.familywatchdog.us/

Infant molesters (whose victims are as young as 1 to 6 years-old) all handed probation and local Adult Supervision by the Cherokee County district attorney's office -and not spending one day in prison.


[known registered Rusk, TX sex offenders - courtesy of Family Watchdog]

As a footnote, Harold "Bo" Scallon was sentenced on Tuesday June 17, 2008 in the US District Courts to 6 1/2 years federal prison time for possessing Internet child pornography. He will remain under parole supervision for 5 years after completing his federal prison term. Had the Rusk ISD faculty member actually acted on his sick fantasies and molested a Jr. High student, then the Cherokee County district attorney would have offered Scallon a few months probation (just like Elmer Beckworth's office did for Chris Hennessy, a Rusk Texas patrol officer offered a paltry probation sentence of months instead of years for raping a Rusk ISD Jr. High girl in 2004). Or Cherokee County prosecutors would simply ignore the problem like the community and Rusk school board has for the last 30 years of Harold "Bo" Scallon's teaching career. The world may never know how many deals were struck to keep this guy's perverted pastimes out of the Rusk ISD school bulletin and news.

Also buried in the archives and the local School Board meeting minutes is a report of another Rusk ISD school teacher and former Jacksonville High School faculty member, Brian Basse sentenced to 3 years TDCJ time in 2007 for sexual contact with a student. Explicit Instant Messages and photos were recovered from his laptop computer by the FBI. Basse had been a Rusk Texas school teacher for 7 years, before relocating from the Jacksonville ISD. Brian Basse's 36 month sentence (which he may serve 80% of) was handed to him from the 2nd Judicial District Court in Rusk, TX.


And don't forget about Josh Allen music teacher at the Jacksonville Christian Academy and youth minister for the Tyler Street Baptist Church being sentenced in 2007 to 4 years for possession of child pornography- over 600 graphic and violent images. Tyler Street Baptist Church is a long time polling place for voters in Cherokee County's Precinct No. 15. The US District Court "noted that Allen has no past criminal history and that he had the support of his church - factors in issuing the relatively lenient sentence." Great. Gregg County Texas charged Josh Allen for his porn distribution into their county, since Cherokee County Texas failed to do so. A local investigation was not required from the source because, as Allen told Federal Judge Leonard Davis during his January 4, 2007 sentencing, local authorities believed the choir director still "had an opportunity to be part of the solution to the problem" of child porn being distributed via the Internet from Cherokee County, Texas. Allen received the same lack of media attention coupled with an outpouring of local support as did Jeffrey Scott Ray and Toby Lynn Barnett. Ray's residence in Nacogdoches, TX was raided by federal authorities in 2006 and his sentencing not reported; Jeffrey Ray Scott got 70 months in federal prison. Toby Barnett was charged with possession of child porn and given 3 years probation in 2002 for "not having a prior criminal record," even though he had been convicted in Nacogdoches, TX for assault in 1996.

Just do a comparison on how the legal system operates 40 miles away in Smith County, Texas. For instance, the recent Wednesday June 18, 2008 sentencing of Daniel Wayne Tidwell, age 29 of Tyler, in the 241st District Court doling out 50 years state prison time. This is after Tidwell pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl. Daniel Tidwell did have prior felony convictions, but regardless was facing 5 years to life for the rape.

Don't forget the crack down on the Mineola Swinger's Club that has made national news, either. The third defendant out of a string of arrests, Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly, a foster parent, is on trial for drugging children 9 years-old and younger and forcing them to perform strip club-esque dances for patrons of Mineola, Texas' honky tonk. A version of what Cherokee County, Texas' counterfeit Christians have been doing for decades: exploiting children and getting away with it. Smith County CPS removed the children from the homes of participants beginning in 2004 when it became apparent drug use and sexual abuse was occurring in the "deeply religious community." Also awaiting trial are Dennis Boyd and Rebecca Pittman; and Jimmy Dale and Shelia Darlene Sones. Local swingers in the East Texas sex ring Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Loraine Mayo were convicted and sentenced to life in prison earlier in May, for their involvement in making children perform sex acts on stage.

An even better recent comparison would be the 2006 trial in Smith County of a preacher named Jefferson Marion Moore, age 58 at the time, also the Dogwood City Daycare and Preschool operator convicted of molesting a 6 year-old girl left in his care. He was a full time pastor for the Dogwood City Chapel, or "Brother Jeff" as they called him. Jefferson Moore was convicted and sentenced to LIFE in prison for the rape he committed. Moore had been indicted on three counts of sexual assault of a minor involving a 6, 7 and 4 year-old. "Brother Jeff" Moore was also charged with retaliation after an altercation with Smith County prosecutors during courtroom deliberations and given 10 extra years. On the brighter side, the Tyler Paper reports in its June 25, 2008 edition that Jefferson Moore died of "natural causes" in his cellblock earlier this month after serving 2 years in prison. Dogwood City, Texas is a small unincorporated community on Lake Palestine and ideal retirement spot for district judges, located on the Cherokee County / Smith County border and 20 miles from downtown Jacksonville, Texas. No probation offers or lenient sentences for this child molester; the Smith County community certainly did not rally in support of the only preacher and licensed babysitter in their tiny town. Incidentally, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday June 25, 2008 that it is unconstitutional for states to execute child rapists. That will certainly keep Cherokee County's sexual predator population on a steady incline.


Pastor Jefferson Moore (deceased), daycare owner and child molester

In April 2005, the Kilgore, Texas newspaper The Kilgore News Herald began an expose, aptly named "Child Pornography Big Problem in East Texas," on how pervasive the crime was becoming.

Next month, more East Texas child molesters off the streets and in federal prison, such as Franklin Albert Pearce of Wood County, Texas gets life for the sexual assault of a 6 year-old girl. William Allen Pipes of Gilmer, TX pleads guilty to distributing child porn and faces 10 years.

In local school news, the superintendent of Overton ISD Dr. Mark Stretcher, after "unexpectedly" resigning his post in January due to a "personal illness and pressure" and subsequently throwing the Overton, TX school district in disarray- why Dr. Stretcher has been charged with felony theft of public funds. Stretcher pleaded guilty to 'theft in office' on Friday June 27, 2008. Beware Rusk County, Texas you are in a close second for most corrupt.

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