Freshwater: A Christian Conspiracy Theory

I haven’t re-read R. Kelly Hamilton’s summary brief in order to write a comprehensive post yet (and I may gouge my eyes out in order to avoid doing so), but one of the more interesting (and paranoid) parts of the brief is his invocation of conspiracies to account for the jam Freshwater is in. I’ll sketch one of them below the fold to give the flavor of the reasoning (I use that term loosely) Hamilton engages in.

It’s liberal Christians what done it

Over the course of 10 pages in the first part of his brief Hamilton advances the notion that Freshwater was set up–framed, scapegoated, you pick one–by a cabal of liberal Christians bent on discrediting him and somehow or other screwing the school district and/or insurance company out of money. I have no idea where that came from–I don’t recall any foreshadowing in the administrative hearing–but it’s a significant part of Hamilton’s defense of Freshwater in the brief.

First the groundwork. We learn early in the brief in a section titled “Evidentiary Considerations” that Superintendent Steve Short and the investigators from HR OnCall were bullies:

Lord Acton famously asserted “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Corrupted power is in part why this case came about. Part of the reason why this case developed is as old as the Bible and occurs in too many school yards across the nation. Part of this case is about bullies, about bullying, being bigger, stronger or having some kind of power that is misused. Superintendent Short and HR on Call, Inc., the delegates of the BOE, misused their power. They misused their power willfully, in part because of incompetence but also because of a lack of integrity. Evidence shows they misused their power intentionally and in some acts even maliciously in violation of BOE Policy 3361.01 - Threatening Behavior Toward Staff Member. (p. 37)

But then we are told that in spite of being powerful bullies (“absolute power,” remember), they (along with Freshwater) were actually no more than helpless pawns:

Could it be that John Freshwater and Superintendent Short were pawns of a larger scheme for which they were simply game pieces to be moved around? (p. 38)

With the groundwork in place, Hamilton introduces the conspiracy theory starting on page 46 where he claims that Lynda Weston, former Director of Teaching and Learning, has a personal animus toward Freshwater:

Although Dr. Weston lacked any “rapport” with John Freshwater she was clearly troubled, maybe even jealous, by the positive rapport Teacher Freshwater had with his students. Dr. Weston’s personal motivations toward John Freshwater prevented her from respecting the validity of the “OAT scores” (Ohio Achievement Tests) achieved by Teacher Freshwater and his students. (p. 46)

In the next paragraph Hamilton introduces former Board of Education President Ian Watson:

Former board member-witness Ian Watson’s interest in this matter was to be expected as he was the BOE president. But it seems Ian Watson’s interest went beyond just that of a BOE member considering he conducted his own “investigation” and contacted the American Civil Liberties Union. Ian Watson’s participation with HR on Call, Inc.’s investigation is evident and reveals involvement when examining the May 15, 2008, audio transcript of the interview HR on Call, Inc. conducted of John Freshwater. HR on Call, Inc.’s Thomas Herlevi stated to John Freshwater on May 15, 2008, in pertinent part: “It is very possible, and the purpose of that is if we talk to some people to get some information, if there’s anything there that we feel you should have the opportunity to respond to, we want you to have that opportunity. Okay, rather then, you know, just, you don’t know and you never get a chance to respond. (inaudible) So therefore there will, and we’ll let you know ah if we have that need, and we’ll certainly work with Ian as well and it will be with a little bit of notice, you know, and we’ll make sure it fits everybody’s schedule, then again our goal is.”(pp. 46-47; bolding Hamilton’s)

And then comes the conspiracy theory:

Combine the “more than probably ten” conversations Ian Watson had with Steve Dennis with the fact Mr. Watson and Dr. Weston attend the same “..socially active church” which is “..interested in social issues” upon which Mr. Watson serves on the church’s board, and an impression is made that Mr. Watson’s interest in this matter transcended his capacity as a BOE member. (p. 47)

But what is that interest that transcended his capacity as a BOE member? That becomes clear in the next paragraph:

Is it possible this matter is less about John Freshwater but maybe a guise as the matter could serve dual ends in furthering a socially active church while providing a prospect for reaping funds from public coffers, or insurance proceeds, money seemingly nobody will miss? The only missing element of such a plan would be the necessity to create an outcast. (pp 47-48)

There you have it: Two Christians (Watson and Weston) from a “socially active” liberal Protestant church plotted with a Roman Catholic (Steve Dennis) to frame John Freshwater (a conservative Christian) in order to “further” (how?) a socially active church and to somehow run a scam that takes funds from public coffers and insurance companies (though where those funds are supposed to go isn’t made clear), using the administrators and investigators as bullies and pawns. How stupid of me not to have thought of that (with apologies to THH).