Janitor not guilty of locking preschoolers in closet looks to mo - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Janitor not guilty of locking preschoolers in closet looks to move forward

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CORSICANA, Texas - A preschool custodian was cleared of all wrong doing after being accused of spanking and locking two girls in a closet.

Navarro County jurors deliberated for only an hour before finding Steven Allen Dunn not guilty of injury to a child, child endangerment and unlawful restraint.

In 2011, he was arrested because the parents of two 3-year-old girls told police he had disciplined them and locked them alone in his custodial closet at Two Dimensions Prepatory Academy in Corsicana.


The closet was closed, had no light or windows and contained various cleaning supplies, according to police.

But, defense attorney James Polk said his client didn't lock anyone in the closet.

Dunn told the children there was a monster in the closet to keep them quiet and make them behave in class, Polk said.
   

He called the case was a "witch hunt" started by one child's mother.

Several witnesses testified on Dunn's behalf during the five-day trial,
including former Navarro County Assistant District Attorney and district judge John Jackson, whom Dunn has known for more than 20 years.

“When all the circumstances were known, it was easy to see that he was not criminally responsible,” said Jackson.

The Navarro County D.A. offered Dunn a plea deal.

But it all required Mr. Dunn to go in and admit that he had done something wrong, and I told him, I said, ‘Man, you need to take this; they are gonna reduce this to a misdemeanor,’” said Polk.

But Dunn didn’t take the deal.

I know I was telling the truth,” said Dunn. “I’d rather go to the pen and rot there than to get up there and lie and say I did something I didn’t do.”

Dunn, who had coached kids in Corsicana for 30 years, could not be around them, and while the case was pending, he lost his job.

“I couldn’t get another job,” said Dunn. “Everywhere I went to get a job, they would look at the record that I had and they would refuse me.”

With the case now behind him, Dunn hopes to walk into a new beginning.

I’ve lost pretty much everything except for my character,” he said. “That’s all I’ve had to hold on to.”



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