Texts that Got Holmes Band Director Fired, Mother of Recipient Speaks Out
The teacher and former director of the Holmes High School marching band sent text messages to a teenage student during the early morning and late night hours in addition to during class time.
The River City News obtained a copy of the more than 100 messages sent in a one week period from late August to early September.
Jared Murray resigned his position in late September when faced with the possibility of being fired for the exchanges. An investigation started within Covington Independent Public Schools and additionally by the Covington Police Department following a complaint from the teenage girl's mother who spoke to The River City News on Wednesday.
"I thought he was a really great guy," said Shana Donskey. "I don't want to see anything bad happen to him but this was alarming and I had to have it investigated."
Donskey discovered a series of texts from Murray to her daughter that prompted a report to the police.
On August 28, Murray texted the girl at 6:48 a.m. "You up?" He continued, "I knew I liked you for some reason", "Girl, you're always looking nice", and at 7:18 a.m., "You already know I'll smack your ass".
At 12:14 p.m., during school hours, Murray texted, "If I was twenty years younger maybe". At 3:22 p.m., "You look nice today".
On August 29, at 7:09 a.m., Murray texted the girl to say, "Morning, good lookin'". At 7:32 a.m.: "So when you moving in?" At 7:40 a.m.: "We would have tons of the fun".
More texts continued to flow that day. At 9:24 a.m.: "Just remember you have somebody here who cares for you deeply".
The texts picked up again later that night. At 8:24 p.m.: "These are the days I want to take you home and give you the love you deserve". In an interview with 700 WLW and then at a press conference immediately following, Murray said that he aimed to be a father figure for the girl and for many of his students. His attorney, Chris Roach of the Eric Deters Law Firm, said at the time that the girl's home life was troubled and that Murray sought to counsel her.
At 9:21 p.m.: "I miss you already". 9:23 p.m.: "Just know I love you". 9:40 p.m.: "Night baby doll".
Donskey disputes the assertion that the girl's home life was characterized accurately by Murray's legal team which has threatened to sue Donskey, the girl, and the school district for defamation.
"They speculated we made up an accusation and as you know they released my minor daughter's name to the press," the mother said. "They defamed me by stating that I smoked marijuana around my daughter. I haven't done that since college. I can test for it. The parties they say we have sound hilarious. I'd like to be invited."
Since the accusations of an inappropriate electronic relationship emerged, and particularly since Murray's resignation, Donskey said that her daughter's life has been turned upside down.
"She has been removed from the school district because of threats from students. Our house has been egged twice," she said. Donskey still has three children in the Covington Independent Public School District, which she credits as being "amazing" and "helpful" during the investigation.
Donskey is employed there as a substitute teacher and while she will no longer sub at the high school, there was a time when she frequently filled in for Murray.
"(The daughter) has had a very traumatic experience with losing all her peers, her school, having her name dropped in the press," Donskey said. "We could have done this quietly but Eric Deters' office didn't allow that."
Reached by phone Thursday, Murray's attorney Chris Roach said that he had not yet seen all the texts but that he would meet with Murray later tonight. Some of the text messages were read aloud to him over the phone during the interview with The River City News.
"In the context of what he had said earlier, most of them make sense (in that they would be taken out of context)," Roach said. No lawsuits have been filed yet but Roach has been busy helping Murray with his professional issues. When a teacher resigns in lieu of termination, the state must be made aware. "We're pretty much dealing with his certificate issue, but if this goes forward with criminal stuff, we'll definitely defend him."
So far no charges have been filed against Murray, but the investigation is now in the hands of the Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney, according to Covington Police Chief Spike Jones.
Even if the text messages do not warrant a criminal charge, they cost a well-liked and respected member of the Holmes faculty his job.
On August 30, at 6:22 a.m., Murray texted "Mucho hearts". 7:32 a.m.: "So our date is official?" 7:42 a.m.: "You know I truly consider you mine".
7:50 a.m.: "I've grown really attached to you". 7:52 a.m.: "So when I say I love you, I truly mean it".
11:39 a.m.: "FYI mom checking grades".
1:18 p.m.: "Love you sweetheart".
1:43 p.m.: "Hearts & flowers".
2:05 p.m.: "You better stay in touch over the weekend"
On August 31, the texts have the air that somebody started asking questions. At 12:42 p.m., Murray texted, "Just making sure our business stays with us".
5:13 p.m.: "You've grown to be a major part of my life".
6:01 p.m.: "I think we've done a pretty good job not telling this week". The girl responded to that text with, "Why would we have to hide it, It's perfectly normal".
Murray responded at 6:18 p.m.: "We need some us time". 6:32 p.m.: "No you or 2 smacks of ass".
11:50 p.m.: "Sorry, was watching movie. Night baby, love you".
On September 1, Murray asked about the girl's family. 1:57 p.m.: "You think family therapy is working? I really do miss your smile."
7:25 p.m.: "Damn this feels like you really are mine".
7:36 p.m.: "I miss your smile".
10:04 p.m.: "Hope you miss me as much as I do you".
"It's clearly inappropriate for a teacher and a student and I think the biggest reason why we didn't say anything until we had the text messages was to set the record straight," said attorney Brandon Voelker who is representing Donskey and the child. "The little girl and mother did nothing wrong and the district did nothing wrong in seeking his resignation."
"What's got everyone upset is that (Murray and his legal team) went on the Cunningham show and then people started threatening this girl," he said.