Thursday, October 29, 2009

Would you do what Josh Stepner did? Give an abandoned and abused girl a ride to a bus station to visit her grandmother?

See all posts on Helix High.
See all posts re Grossmont Union High School District.

Here is the declaration
of the girl in this case. All she wanted was to live with her grandmother, and that is what she is now doing. Her cousin, who instituted the complaints against former Helix High Charter School vice principal Josh Stepner, apparently has control issues. It's a disgrace that a good man is being run through Bonnie Dumanis' wringer after having been punished by his employer. Josh Stepner never would have had any problems at all if four teachers at Helix High hadn't behaved so badly. He is being punished for his own good deed and for the bad deeds of others.

I'm wondering if trustee Jim Kelly of Grossmont High School District asked Bonnie Dumanis to prosecute a good man at Helix High simply because Kelly wants to bring down the charter school.

Student's application & restraining order against her mother (2009)

See all Josh Stepner posts.

Helix asst. principal says he was only trying to help student
Oct 22, 2009

For the first time, we're hearing from a Helix High School assistant principal accused of helping a 16-year-old student run away. Through his attorney, the principal says he was only trying to help a child abandoned by her mother.

"This is really a classic example of no good deed goes unpunished," Josh Stepner's attorney Mark-Robert Bluemel said.

Bluemel is getting ready to go to court to defend Stepner against a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Stepner is accused of helping a 16-year-old student run away to Oregon.

"This man is innocent and he has the right to prove that. Unfortunately, what has happened prior - and that's why I'm talking to you - is he was painted out as being guilty," Bluemel said.

Stepner is not accused of having a sexual relationship with the student, as was initially reported by News 8 and other media outlets. Those reports were based on inaccurate information given to the media on October 5th, and were corrected by News 8 twelve hours later.

As it turns out, Stepner is accused of helping the girl purchase a bus ticket to Oregon and driving her to the bus station.

"My client brought her to safety, so to speak. She's now back in Oregon with a family and going to school," Bluemel said.

Court records show the girl had recently taken out a restraining order against her mother, and the judge revoked the mother's custodial rights. Bluemel says the girl in effect had no guardian and no home to run away from.

"He was assisting a student in need without a guardian and helping her get home, and I think he's been made a scapegoat," Bluemel said.

Since 2006, four teachers have been convicted of sex crimes involving Helix High students.

Bluemel says his client, a married father of three, simply got caught up in that firestorm.

"The evidence will show that there was no inappropriate conduct. He was acting in furtherance of the child's best interests in getting her to a safe harbor, back home to Oregon," Bluemel said.

The girl's father is dead and her grandmother lives in Oregon.

Stepner is facing one misdemeanor count. His attorney will enter a plea in El Cajon court by Nov. 5

See earlier post.

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