This is Part Two. Click here for Part One.
Let’s get right to it. The police report originally filed by Kristi Carter against former Montgomery County Schools employee Jennifer Hall and the accompanying investigative file. It’s a bombshell.
Carter accused Hall of stealing an iPad but the community now knows Hall provided the iPad — containing improper images of a child in the district’s care — to the Office of the Attorney General for safe keeping and investigation after having difficulty getting the Kentucky State Police to step in.
In addition to Carter’s accusation(s), several Montgomery County Schools employees, including superintendent Joshua Powell (with Jacqui Johnston, Chris Barrier and Phil Rison), appear to have worked together in a coordinated effort to destroy Hall’s reputation. The effort seems to be retribution for Hall blowing the whistle on a number of problems within the school district and police documentation now backs that up.
What you’re about to read from law enforcement will make Jennifer Hall’s lawsuit against the district seem like a slam dunk. Because there’s proof — from police — that Powell repeatedly tried to have Hall arrested and frog marched before media, an attempt to make her look like a criminal. Despite law enforcement repeatedly telling him he couldn’t do anything of the sort. All while trumping up charges of stalking and defamation, allegations for which he had (and still has) zero evidence.
The initial report filed by Carter:
CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE
Supporting documentation from the investigation:
CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE
Here’s a rough transcript for your convenience — emphasis ours:
During a meeting with Montgomery County School District Employee and After School Child Care Supervisor Kristi Carter on June 13, 2013, she reported that an Apple Ipad 16g which belonged to the Montgomery County School District was missing.
Carter stated it was used at the Montgomery County Intermediate Schools after school day care program, was removed from the school without the district’s permission by an employee by the name of Jennifer Hall, who worked in the After School Program.
Carter said she had been in contact with Hall and Hall had stated she did in fact have the Ipad and would return it.
Carter also stated that Hall was in possession of a Ipod which belonged to a student and Hall was to take the Ipod and have it repaired.
Then during another meeting with Carter in June 2013, she stated she felt that Hall know longer had the Ipad and it was missing.
Hall has now been moved from Montgomery County Intermediate School to Mt. Sterling Elementary.
Upon checking with the Montgomery County School Districts Technology Department the Ipad was purchased on May 30, 2012 and issued out on July 9, 2012.
This item will be submitted to NCIC for entry.
I was notified by the Montgomery County 911 Center that they were having difficulty entering the Ipad, due to the fact it would not accept the serial number provide by the school technology department.
During the approximate 3rd. week in October I was contacted by Kentucky State Police Trooper Nathan Shortridge in reference to a possible child pornography investigation.
Shortridge stated he had receive a complaint from Captain Brian Bowling of the Morehead State Police Post in regards to a child pornography case and the alleged photos were on a school on Ipad. Shortridge stated he had been instructed to contact a Jennifer Hall a school employee and the person who was in possession of the Ipad, with the photographs.
Trooper Shortridge was then informed Hall was assigned at Mt. Sterling Elementary as a after school day care worker.
Trooper Shortridge stated he was first going to attempt to make contact with Hall at her residence off in Shawnee Springs.
During the next two weeks I spoke with Trooper Shortridge several times about the recovery of the Ipad. Shortridge stated he had attempted several times to contact Hall but had been unsuccessful.
On October 28, 2013, I was contacted by Trooper Nathan Shortridge who stated that he believed he had recovered the Ipad and it was located at the Kentucky State Attorney General’s Office in Frankfort, KY.
Shortridge stated he had finally made contact with Hall who told him the Ipad had been taken to the Kentucky State Attorney General’s Office for safe keeping. Shortridge said he had checked and the Ipad was in fact at the Attorney Generals Office and he was going to retrieve it on October 29, 2013.
On November 18, 2013, Trooper Shortridge, Montgomery County School District Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison, and myself met regarding the stolen Ipad which had been retrieved from the state attorney general’s office.
Shortridge was needing permission to access the Ipad, which he received a Consent to Search Form signed by Rison giving him permission to search the Ipad, he was also provided a copy of The Montgomery County School Districts Electronic Device Users Agreement. He was also provided a copy of the users agreement which Hall had signed.
Shortridge was then going to submit the Ipad to the Kentucky State Electronics Crime Unit to check the Ipad for any illegal materials.
This is a supplement to the original report o clarify some dates involving this investigation.
On October 22, 2013, I was contacted by Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison and ask to met with Trooper Nathan Shortridge regarding the stolen Ipad from day care. Upon speaking to Shortridge, he stated he had received a complaint of Child Porn on the Ipad in question and it was in the possession of Jennifer Hall and he need to recover it and also speak to Ms. Hall regarding the Complaint.
Attempts by Trooper Shortridge were made on October 27 and 28, 2013, to contact Ms. Hall at her residence, however it was unsuccessful. Trooper Shortridge also attempted to contact Ms. Hall by phone and this was also unsuccessful.
On October 27, 2013, I spoke with Trooper Shortridge regarding his investigation and he stated he had finally gotten into contact with Ms. Hall and was told the Ipad was at the AG’s Office in Frankfort. Shortridge stated he was making arrangements to retrieve the Ipad if the AG’s Office was done with it.
On November 5, 2013, I was contacted by Trooper Shortridge regarding needing to meet and talk about the Ipad, a date was set for November 12, 2013, to meet. Upon meeting with Trooper Shortridge, he explained that the AG’s Office had not found any images on the Ipad regarding Child Porn, however he was going to submit it to the Kentucky State Police Computer Lab for review. I told Trooper Shortridge to speak with his supervisor in regards to a consent form signed by the school districts administrators granting access without a search warrant and the district would provide that if needed. Also present during the meeting was Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison.
On November 18, 2013, Trooper Shortridge once again came to Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison’s office regarding the need of a signed consent form to allow the KSP Computer Section to examine the Ipad without a search warrant, Rison signed the consent form. Trooper shortridge then made arrangements for the Ipad to be transported to Frankfort for examination.
Within the next week Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison and I met with Trooper Shortridge again regarding the Ipad. Shortridge stated the KSP Computer Section had found no Child Pornographic Images on the Ipad, however there were some personal family photos on it.
Upon checking the Ipad only family photos of Kristi Carter’s family were observed on the Ipad, however there appeared to be one of a female student setting at a desk. There was also a lock code on the Ipad which no one had the code for. The KSP Computer Section had scanned the hard drive to review the need material.
Shortridge then turned the Ipad over to me and he stated they were finished with it regarding their investigation. I then placed the Ipad in the Montgomery County School Districts Evidence Lock, where it was secured.
Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison then notified Superintendent Josh Powell as to the fact the Ipad had been returned from KSP and no Child Porn was found on the item. Powell was also informed that I had secured the Ipad as evidence. Powell was also informed about the pass code being on the Ipad, he stated to check with the I.T. Department to see if they could break the code. (Powell walked in the back door of Rison’s Office)
Upon checking with the I.T. Department I was told they had been informed by Apple they could not break the code, but only wipe it clean so it could be used again. Powell was informed of this and he stated he had someone who could break the code or Owsley had someone who could do it.
The next week a meeting was held in Superintendent Josh Powell’s Office regarding the Ipad, present during the meeting was Powell, Rison, Jacqui Johnston, Officer Chris Barrier and myself. During this meeting it was explained to Powell about Trooper Shortridge’s investigation and that no Child Porn was found on the Ipad.
Powell then ask as to the date the Ipad was taken to the AG’s Office, with that date being around October 28, 2013, he ask Johnston to check Hall days she was off and Johnston indicated Hall had taken off sick on October 28, 2013, at this point Powell surmised Hall must have taken the Ipad to the Ag’s Office on that date and lied about being sick. Plus she had taken the Ipad without permission and by her taking it to the Ag’s Office she was in possession of stolen property.
Powell the instructed Officer Barrier and myself to go arrest Hall for taking the Ipad, I then explained to Powell that we could not just go arrest her because it was an misdemeanor offense so we had to discuss it with the county attorney or the commonwealth attorney to obtain an arrest warrant. Powell did not seem to understand the procedure of law and not just arresting her.
Powell then stated he had enough on her to go ahead and suspend her anyway and that he would get a letter together for Officer Barrier and I to take to Mt. Sterling Elementary to give her stating she was suspended and to retrieve her keys. Powell then stated he wanted us to escort her out the door and he would contact the paper and have them that her picture as we walked her out. (I felt to give the impression that she was being arrested.)
Powell then went on to say that she had caused enough problems stalking Kristi (Carter) and the stuff she had posted on Topix.
I then explained to Powell I would setup a meeting with the county attorney’s office since more than likely they would be the ones prosecuting the case and I would discuss the investigation with them. Powell then stated he wanted Officer Barreir to also go with me.
The next morning I meet Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison in his office at approximately 07:30 hours. I explained to Mr. Rison that I did not feel comfortable with Mr. Powell’s request, that he had ask Officer Barrier and I to escort Hall out of Mt. Sterling Elementary when she was being suspended and the paper taking pictures.
I explained to Rison that was not the way I conducted professionally and I did not operate that way. Rison stated he agreed and not to worry about it he would talk to Powell. I explained to Rison I had not problem taking Hall the letter and retrieving the keys, but escorting her out while the paper took pictures I could not do that.
Officer Barrier and I then met with Nick Fagenbush Assistant Montgomery County Attorney and explained the investigation to him. Fagenbush after reviewing the investigation stated we did not have a case for taking of the Ipad or for receiving stolen property. Because it would have to be proven that she intended deprive the owner of the Ipad for personal gain, which she has not. Her intent was to protect the possible evidence on it by turning it over to a law enforcement agency as evidence the AG’s Office. In fact she may even be protected under the federal whistle blowers act.
I then ask Fagenbush about the possibility of unlawful access to an computer, he explained that she had the right to access the Ipad as part of work and that Kristi Carter had given out her access code to the day care workers to use and Carter had in fact tied her Iphone to the Ipad, therefore her information was going out to everyone who used the Ipads, therefore she did not get any information unlawful Carter put it out there.
After leaving the county attorney’s office Officer Barrier wanted to call Superintendent Josh Powell at that point and tell him what we had been informed. I explained to Barrier I would like to discuss it with Mr. Rison before we spoke to Powell and Mr. Rison was out of town that day and would not be back until Monday.
Upon speaking with Mr. Rison the following Monday I explained to him about what we had learned during the meeting at the county attorney’s office and ask if he wanted to talk to Mr. Powell and try to explain it or would he like for me to meet with him also. Rison stated that he would meet with Powell first and we would go from there.
On July 25, 2014, I was contacted by email from Superintendent Josh Powell regarding a meeting on the following Monday July 23, 2014, in his office at 11:00am.
Upon meeting in Powell’s Office also present with Powell was Assistant Superintendend’s Jacqui Johnston and Phil Rison.
Powell then proceed to inquire as to why Hall had not been charged with the theft of the Ipad. I explained to Powell that I had met with the county attorney’s office and they reviewed the investigation and felt there was no criminal wrong doing. I explained to Powell the county attorney’s office felt there was no criminal intent by Hall, that they believed she felt that she was protecting the evidence on the Ipad by giving it to another law enforcement agency the Ag’s Office and she had not intended to take it for gain, but to protect the evidence.
Powell then stated he had a friend who was a prosecutor in Ohio and that friend felt Hall should be arrested. I then explained to Powell that his friend may have told him that, however I must work with the law of the state of Kentucky and the guide lines of the county attorney’s office here and the commonwealth attorney’s office of this current, going by what they tell me.
I then explained to Powell that in fact the county attorney’s office felt Hall may even be protected in her actions under the federal whistle blower act, Powell then inquired as to how this may be possible. I explained to Powell that if she felt the Ipad had evidence on it and she reported it or any wrong doing to law enforcement she may be protected.
Powell then ask who I had met with at the county attorney’s office and I explained Nick Fagenbush, he then asked who had gone with me and I told him Chris Barrier. Powell then looked at me and then at Mr. Rison and stated that Barrier had said he did not go to the county attorney’s office with you (referring to me). I told Powell that may be what Barrier says he remembers however he did go with me and Fagenbush can confirm it.
Powell then looked at Mr. Rison and ask is that not what he told us, Mr. Rison responded yes he did. I then told Mr. Rison to confirm with Fagenbush.
Powell once again went back to the fact Hall was not arrested, Mr. Rison then tried to explain that I had to go by what the law was in black and white and that was how the county attorney’s office was viewing it.
Powell then stated he had enough to go ahead and fire her anyway, with what he had. Mr. Rison at this point said if there is enough to do it administratively then that is what needs to be done. Mr. Rison then stated that he felt what I was trying to explain was then was not enough evidence for criminal charges, however if Hall had violated district policy that would be the way things would have to proceed.
On August 12, 2014, I was contacted by Rison and ask if I had done a Open Records request for Trooper Shortridge’s investigation, to the KSP Post in Morehead. I explained that Central Office would have to do this, since I have no need for the records in question. Mr. Rison then ask as a district employee why couldn’t I do it. I then explained to Mr. Rison I would go ahead and submit the request and have the information come to Central Office, which I did to the care of Assistant Superintendend Jacqui Johnston.
On August 22, 2014, Cindy Kincaid came to my office with a packing box, requesting I assist her in the mailing of the Ipad in question to Michael Maschke with Sensei Enterprises in Virginia The Ipad was removed from evidence and packaged.
Kincaid and I then delivered the Ipad to a Fedex drop box for shipment to Maschke.
There is no further evidence to indicate this is a criminal investigation therefore it is CLOSED.
Bonus: When the Kentucky State Police responded to the open records request? Well, take a look:
CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE
It was revealed, as you can read above, that there was “no official investigation opened regarding this incident” by Trooper Shortridge, despite repeated claims to the contrary.
Shortridge claimed he didn’t speak with Jennifer Hall but we’ve already published text messages that prove he/Kirkland communicated with Hall via text message. He found out the iPad was in the possession of the Attorney General because she informed him on her way home from the OAG.
According to our sources at the Kentucky State Police, Hall never reported that there was child porn on the iPad. Just images of a child. And as you’ve seen, there was apparently no official investigation.
But there you have it.
Law enforcement — the school cop, county attorney and such — made it clear to Powell that there was nothing illegal going on. But he still pressed for Jennifer Hall to be arrested and went so far as to attempt to mislead the public by having his friends at the local newspaper photograph her in a faux perp walk. Powell had such a limited understanding of basic law that the school resource officer had to repeatedly explain it to him.
Then Powell, along with all involved, carried out their retaliation scheme that resulted in the eventual firing of Hall.
This mess isn’t over yet. Tomorrow we’re revealing something that can only be described as career suicide. You won’t believe it.
This is Part Two. Click here for Part Three. (Link will be live tomorrow)