Parents accuse Cleveland Schools of cover up, Carl Monday gets 'missing' surveillance video

Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Two Cleveland mothers are "livid" after seeing video of their teenage daughters being "inappropriately" grabbed by a Cleveland Metropolitan School District security officer.

To protect the identities of the mothers and their teenage daughters, we are not naming them in our story online or on-air and their voices have been altered.

In late August, the beginning of the current school year, two female students attending John Hay High School accused CMSD security officer Eric Simpkins of three incidents of inappropriate behavior.

"It happened so fast, I was kind of shook up," one of the teens said, during a Cleveland 19 studio interview. "I said, 'Get off me, get off me.'"

Two teenage girls say they were preyed on by a school security officer in the school's corridor.

"Massaging my neck, then touching my butt, pulling me into the empty hallway," said the second teen victim. "Who knows what he would have done if I hadn't broken lose?"

The district, Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services, Cleveland police, and CPD's Sex Crime Unit opened an investigation. Ultimately, Cleveland's city prosecutor declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence, per CMSD's Chief Communication Officer Dr. Roseann Canfora.

The district said it is investigating "to determine whether Mr. Simpkins engaged in unprofessional conduct or conduct in violation of board policy."

The teens' parents said they were told by investigators there was no security video to back up their daughters' allegations. The first victim's mother told Cleveland 19 that she was told the video was only kept for "30 days."

"We thought the video no longer existed," the second victim's mother added.

Cleveland 19 asked both parents if either had seen video showing the August incident in the school's incident, obtained by Cleveland 19's investigative team.

"I have never seen this video before. I have requested on several occasions to see this video. This is the first time," said the first victim's mother.

The second teen's mother also confirmed she'd "never seen the video" before.

The closed circuit television surveillance video Cleveland 19's investigative unit obtained is dated and time stamped 10:04 a.m. on Aug. 23.  It's the same information that shows up on the initial police report filed against Simpkins, in which one of the teen victims said she "fears for her safety."

In the video, a man the two teen victims identify as CMSD security officer Eric Simpkins stops two teachers in the hall and shares a hug and a kiss. Soon after, the first teen comes around the corner. The security guard grabs her by the wrist and pushes her into a stairway. He then goes behind her and bends her over, before pushing her out of view of this security camera. The teen told Cleveland 19 after watching the video of the incident for the first time that she felt "scared."

The second teen victim says she was in the adjoining hallway when Simpkins grabbed her next.

"I'm like, 'No, get off me, get off me.' He's like, 'What's wrong with you?'" she said. "Nothing, get off me, get the F off me."

Both teens say they were able to break away from Simpkins, and at some point, tell their mothers what had happened at school.

"Watching him grab my daughter, pushing and grabbing her ... to be sitting here physically seeing this ... I can't breathe right now," the first teen's mother said after watching the video for the first time since the police report was made seven months ago.

Children and Family Services said that they did review "a" video and determined the allegations of sexual imposition in the police report were unsubstantiated. But it's unclear if it's the same video obtained by Cleveland 19.

No comment yet from Cleveland Police or Cleveland Schools.

Cleveland 19 tried talking to Simpkins, who was transferred to the all-boys Ginn Academy after the complaints were filed. CMSD gave Cleveland 19 a copy of Simpkins' personnel file, but there's no paperwork involving the incidents at John Hay. CMSD said it's still investigating to determine if Simpkins was involved in any inappropriate behavior.

Both parents said just to look at the video -- the answer is clear.

"This is a grown man. This is an adult. He has no business playing, touching or any of that with these girls," said the second victim's mom.

The first victim's mother said it's a disgrace.

"I don't even know why he has a uniform on. It's a disgrace. It's a disgrace," she said. "They need to get him out of there. He needs to be gone."


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