The former principal of one of the city’s major high schools will not face criminal charges over allegations that he harassed female employees and once stuck his tongue into the ear of a school cheerleader during an alleged sexual advance, the Houston school district said.
Ronald Mumphery, the former head of Yates High School, will not be prosecuted after the Houston Independent School District’s own police department “found there was not sufficient evidence to support any criminal charges,” HISD spokesman Norm Uhl said.
Uhl said no report has been created on HISD Police’s findings in the case, though one may be written later.
In an e-mailed response to other questions posed by Texas Watchdog, Uhl suggested the news organization file a public information request.
Among the remaining questions is whether HISD police consulted with the Harris County district attorney’s office about Mumphrey.
By policy, DA Pat Lykos’ office does not discuss whether it is investigating a case or whether a case has been forwarded to it for potential prosecution. “We do not confirm or deny whether we are investigating a case until a case gets filed,” Terese Buess, with the DA’s office, said Monday.
A 30-year veteran of the district, Mumphery was reassigned by the district in late September. At that time, HISD said Mumphery had been accused of unspecified “professional misconduct,” without elaborating. He filed paperwork with the school system a few days later to retire.
The allegations against Mumphery date back to the early 1980’s and include allegations of staff members exchanging sexual favors for preferential treatment and overtime pay from the principal and allegations that Mumphery grabbed and sexually touched a 17-year-old cheerleader and student back in 1984.
The sexual harassment allegations were outlined in an HISD investigation report and include multiple witnesses and alleged victims’ testimonies.
There was no answer at Mumphrey’s home telephone listing earlier today.
Mumphery had previously served as principal at Houston’s Cullen Middle School and an assistant principal at Jones High. He earned more than $109,000 during the 2009-10 school year, according to an HISD salary database.
The allegations against Mumphery came to light, records show, after Houston school Superintendent Terry Grier received an anonymous letter in mid-September.
HISD began to investigate, reaching out to numerous former students and employees, including a current HISD employee who said she was accosted by Mumphrey when she was a student of his 16 years ago.
The woman told investigators she was a cheerleader at Yates at the time, and the report says Mumphrey was a teacher and coach there.
According to the report:
In an interview with the school district, the former cheerleader detailed the incident that occurred back in 1984: "She alleged that as soon as she came in the room he started talking sexually to her. She said she was shocked and about to leave when he grabbed her arm, pulled her to him and stuck his tongue in her ear.”
The former cheerleader said she immediately ran out of his office to the principal at the time. According to the report, Mumphery allegedly ran after the young woman, telling her to stop, but she kept running. (To read the full report and details about the other allegations. click here.)
Have questions about the Mumphery investigation or other HISD issues? Texas Watchdog wants to hear from you. Contact Lynn Walsh, Lynn@TexasWatchdog.org, 713-228-2850 or on Twitter @LWalsh.
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Photo of Yates High School by Wikipedia user Nick Juhasz, used under a Creative Commons license.