Former Holmes Band Director Responds to Allegations Against Him
Former Holmes High School Band Director Jared Murray was a guest on 700 WLW's "The Bill Cunningham Show" on Monday and spoke to members of the media afterwards, including The River City News.
Murray resigned his position last week amid an open and ongoing investigation by the Covington Police Department and following more than two weeks on paid suspension.
The investigation centers around the more than one hundred text messages sent from Murray to a female student at Holmes, at least some of which were deemed to be inappropriate by the female's mother.
"I have sent some text messages but I've never received any report saying what I did send or didn't send," Murray said Monday. He added that most of his text messages to various students were directly related to band while other messages may have been more personal in nature but offered out of concern.
"I allowed myself to be a second father figure to a lot of the students so I tell them if they need any help to let me know and I'll always be there for them," Murray said. He said that it was possible that some of his texts to the female student in question may have been misinterpreted.
Prior to the radio appearance and press conference, the Eric Deters law firm which is representing Murray, issued a news release with an attachment titled, "Facts in the Jared Murray case".
In it, Murray recounts the time leading up to his resignation, something he said he was offered to do in lieu of being terminated.
"The way it was given to me, if I were to resign, everything would be washed out and we'd go our separate ways," Murray said Monday. "That was me trying to help the kids. I thought, let me just step away."
Stepping away was hard on the 7-year veteran of the Covington Independent Public Schools who has helped lead a resurgence in the band and oversaw a $700,000 new band room constructed last spring.
"I feel a void in my life," he said. "These kids are my family. When I first moved to Covington, I didn't have any family. They helped me overcome some obstacles I was having, through my divorce. That's who I had and now I don't have my students who I consider my children."
Murray said that when his students were in need, he came through for them. He purchased new shoes for the ones who couldn't afford them and meals for those who would have gone without. Gestures like that scored him an outpouring of support from current students and parents, a few of which sent supportive emails to Deters' law firm and which were attached to the news release.
The news release also identified the alleged recipient of the text messages in question, a mistake that attorney Chris Roach, who is representing Murray until Deters' suspension ends in November, said would be corrected and redacted and reissued.
Some of the emails also personally attack the teen girl and her mother, questioning their motives. The attorneys plan to seize that, too.
"The cavalry is coming out of the woodwork," said Chuck Holbrook, an investigator for Deters. "There are band members, parents, kids crying themselves to sleep if they're getting to sleep. They're really upset over this. He is like a father figure to them. He's sugar-coating the troubles these kids have had. We have it in black and white, these problems these kids are going through."
Murray is credited with resurrecting a struggling band program at Holmes High School and is also the leader of the band at the adjoining middle school. He said Monday that he was committed to returning the program to the glory of the seventies and eighties.
Now that he's gone, he said he'd simply like to teach again.
"Everything that's gone on, it's affected me as an individual," Murray said. "As I've told everybody, I got to look out for me and my wife and my family." He's not sure if he would ever return to Holmes if given the chance but he is sure of what he would say to the female student and her mother.
"I wish you would have come to me as an individual first to clear this up."
"I would love to teach again someday," he said. "The band has a hole in it. They are on big happy family. I always told them, through together and family you can overcome everything. The bond you get with a team is what's special and I consider those kids my own kids and I would do anything for them."
"I was shocked that this would come from someone within the band family," Murray said. We're all a big happy family."
During the live radio portion of his media appearance Monday, he said that he had had the female student in class since seventh or eighth grade. "In my mind, she's a troubled student. It's not a very good home situation."