Responses from Ray McBerry and Carl Camon

The two candidates for governor who were the subject of last evening’s post, Republican Ray McBerry and Democrat Carl Camon, have responded today – each in his own way.

The original post said:

According to state records, two candidates for governor — one Republican and one Democrat, both trained as high school educators — have had their teaching certificates suspended for misconduct involving female students.

Camon, the mayor of Ray City near Valdosta, attached a comment to the post that included this:

I was accused of making inappropriate comments to students, but not one ounce of evidence in my case has been proven. Twenty-five or more fellow teachers, in which I have worked with at the same school, in the same classrooms, in the past, wrote statements supporting my innocency, including all teachers in which I shared a collaborative classroom (at no time was I ever alone with any of the students who made these false accusations; another teacher was always in the classroom with me).

…..The Professional Standards Commission has a history of not telling the “whole story”. Even the worst prepared attorney in our state could take my case and win, if they had all the evidence. I wrote letters to the Governor about my case and to the Attorney General, regarding laws that were broken, and I was ignored.

We’ve put Camon’s full comment in a Google doc for easier access. Here’s the link to a case summary on file with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

The McBerry campaign this after noon e-mailed a five-paragraph statement, which can be viewed in full here. Here’s the meat:

Ultimately, the teenager’s stepfather made accusations against Ray for counseling his stepdaughter without his “authorization” and sought to have Ray’s teaching certificate revoked and legal charges brought against him for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” (a much less substantial charge than what had originally been implied). Upon hearing the accusations and all of the testimony against Ray, the local magistrate did not even wait for Ray to take the stand in his own defense before ruling that no evidence had even been given that a crime was ever committed; and the magistrate refused to even allow charges to be brought in the case.

In the attempt to have Ray’s teaching certificate revoked, again, the stepfather was unsuccessful because he was unable to persuade anyone in the investigation that his allegations and inuendo had any basis in fact. After nearly a year and a half of Ray refusing to sign a statement admitting any such behavior, the state ethics commission suspended his teaching certificate for one week when school session was out in the middle of July for the stated reason above and nothing else.

In trying to help the student who seems to have become attached and emotionally dependent upon Ray at the time, and then having to deal with a stepfather whose motives Ray had questioned, it seems that the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” is founded once again. Today, Ray still possesses a valid teaching certificate in the state of Georgia which can be renewed at any time of his choosing. He has owned his own successful business in radio and television now for nearly seven years and enjoys the benefits of leisure time and much higher pay than he did as a teacher. When asked about his view on what happened nearly eight years ago, Ray commented, “It was unfortunate, at the time, that it happened. I did not understand how someone asked to help could become the target, himself, of suspicion. However, today I see that the Providence of God used the incident to open new doors of opportunity for myself and my family which have made my life much more enjoyable than it was when I was teaching and barely able to provide for my family. As a former educator, I understand and greatly respect, personally, the sacrifices that our teachers make, particularly in receiving such low pay and assuming such great risks all for the purpose of helping young people.”

The e-mail was followed by a phone call from McBerry. But the candidate declined to answer questions about matters not addressed in his press release – such as his reasons for resigning his teaching post at Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge in January 2003, less than a month after the girl’s mother filed a complaint.

McBerry’s press release also does not address the female student’s statement to investigators that her relationship to McBerry had progressed to a physical one. Read the case summary by clicking here.

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30 comments Add your comment

Ghia

March 18th, 2010
2:31 pm

God help us all. As someone who subbed for several years in high school I can vouch that there are students, and unfortunately, parents who will take an disliking to a teacher and will alledge all sorts of things that are not true. Many students know that if they simply make the false allegation that the teacher becomes tainted and will forever be defending their innocence. Sounds a whole lot like the Duke Lacrosse Debacle to me.

These men had their day in court (sic) and that should be enough. Unfortunately we have forgotten innocent until proven guilty and once acquited the person is innocent by a jury of their peers (or ethics panel in this case). This is one reason why great teachers are leaving the field in droves.

kindergarden math

March 18th, 2010
2:34 pm

Given the grammatical and punctuation errors in his response, I am guessing that Camon was not an English teacher. Even so, shouldn’t someone who wants to be Governor at least ask someone to proofread a response that is going to go out all over the state ?

Tired of BS

March 18th, 2010
2:45 pm

It could be said that some may feel this information is coming to light because of sagging campaigns. Truly I don’t know the answer to that. My thoughts are for the families of these men who must now be on the defensive for their behavior. Either way Karen Handel still has my vote.

Lee

March 18th, 2010
2:56 pm

I don’t think the real issue with McBerry is that he did something and was not proven guilty, but that he lied to his whole campaign saying that all this stuff was unsubstantiated rumors.

bulldog

March 18th, 2010
3:42 pm

It is a “he said, she said” situation. Still why take the chance that you might be voting a pervert into the Governor’s office?

Daisy Duke

March 18th, 2010
4:05 pm

Let’s recap: So far, in the 2010 Governor’s race we have two candidates accused of inappropriate conduct; one candidate who accepted contributions from those he regulates; Another candidate, a U.S. Congressman, took a no-bid contract from the State of GA for his personal business; one candidate that will not salute the flag; one candidate that “would be King”; and yet another candidate who is a self-proclaimed Christian and “family man” who frequents certain establishments during the Session. We better pray for the future of Georgia.

Port o'John

March 18th, 2010
4:09 pm

McBerry gives me the creeps.

Given the miserable records of Georgia Schools, I’m not any teacher, regardless of political affiliation, should be elected to anything.

Bobby Anthony

March 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Bulldog. Georgia has elected people in the past who have been fired for similar reasons. If you read “Agrarian Rebel” you will find that Tom Watson was fired as a teacher in McDuffie County for dallying with female students. He was later elected to the U.S. Senate, started Rural Free Delivery, was a cadidate for President of the United States, and has a statue on the lawn of the Georgia Capital.

Raquel Morris

March 18th, 2010
4:31 pm

@Daisy Duke – please give more details on the “establishment” frequenting “family man.”

South Ga

March 18th, 2010
5:46 pm

So I guess we sould ask a candidate to back out of the campaign due to being accused of a wrong doing but never proven. Why don’t we try to dig up some unfounded dirt on other candidates or are we just going to pick on this one. I think that the powers in the Grand old Party might be concerned that he is not a company man.

[...] Again, I have no idea why I feed into McBerry and his joke of a campaign, but here is a response to an article in the AJC. [...]

There goes another one

March 18th, 2010
6:01 pm

I guess Ray McBerry didn’t happen to mention that his father was Chief Assistant District Attorney of Henry County at the time?

Must have been an oversight.

And thus the reason why the magistrate refused to even allow charges to be brought in the case.

South Ga

March 18th, 2010
6:38 pm

My wife is a substitute teacher at a school in So Ga. Most of the kids now are running the schools through their parents. The parents will not allow their children to be disciplined by the teachers and if the teacher says anything that the child does not like then they have to answer alot of questions concerning this. This is not like it was when I was going to school, the teachers were given the authority over the children. My wife says that six or seven teachers have said that they will not be back teaching due to the children doing what they want and are not able to teach. It’s no wonder that we are last in education in the nation. Good luck all you teachers. I wouldn’t these days.

South Ga

March 18th, 2010
6:45 pm

Karen Handel stated at a debate that the first thing she is going to do is fire ten percent of all state employees including teachers. Ray Mcberry said he was against firing teachers and said he wanted to fire some of the overpaid bureaurcrats. Maybe this is the reason Jim Galloway has started a smear campaign agains mcberry. Mr. Mcberrys is outside of the mainstream republican party. But we do need drastic changes in our government. If you don’t think so just keep voteing the same people in office.

CJ

March 18th, 2010
6:50 pm

The biggest news that I get from these threads is that, apparently, there is someone named McBerry and someone else named Camon running for governor. Good for them for having allegations about inappropriate behavior involving students/youngsters. Without those allegations, it is likely nobody will have heard of either one until there names appeared on the ballot on election day. As for McBerry and Camon, not to worry, when your poll numbers are so low, these allegations can’t really hurt you. It’s the old “if a tree falls in the empty forest, does it make a sound” conundrum.

Am I the only one who pines for the days when someone accused of inappropriate behavior involving children would have first worked towards clearing his name before having the gall to run for Governor?

JO

March 18th, 2010
7:01 pm

Actually Mcberry is pretty well know in some parts of the state. His support is really increasing. That is the reason for him being put under the microscope. He is not the usual middle of the road, cave in republican and it scares them.

say what?

March 18th, 2010
7:35 pm

Right, he sounds as if he is pining for the days of old, from Betsy Ross’ original flag and ending before the Civil War released the slaves. Angry and bitter is what he is. He should be scary to Republicans as well.

Arthur Blank

March 18th, 2010
7:45 pm

Let he without Sin (thats me) cast the first stone. Wait wait wait, I have been sued and paid out over 120 million in sexual harrasment charges even I make Michael Jackson look like a saint.

Alabama Communist

March 18th, 2010
8:09 pm

However, today I see that the Providence of God used the incident to open new doors of opportunity for myself and my family which have made my life much more enjoyable than it was when I was teaching and barely able to provide for my family.* Ray’s Story and he is sticking to it

If I got this right! McBerry God somehow screw him at his Church and got him into a Massa hugging contest, but somehow his God has step back into the picture and open doors for him in politics to get expose as a sex pervert. I think I would change Gods at this point of the Campaign and blame it on the Devil working at the AJC named Jimbo the Anti-Christ……

GAisOK

March 18th, 2010
9:42 pm

If anyone ever decides to judge these candidates based on their qualifications, gimme a call. ‘Til then- Zzzzzzzzzzz.

JO

March 18th, 2010
9:52 pm

If we don’t go back to the world of old, we will be a third world nations. It’s just around the cornor. I guess you people think that everything is oky doky. It will all turn out good, we just need to elect another Sonny or sonny’s pick anyway – Karen Handel.

JJ

March 19th, 2010
8:11 am

Obviously, someone wants Carl Camon out of this race. I read a report where someone offered him one million dollars to step down from the governor’s race and run for Lt. Governor, and he refused to take the offer. Why? I don’t know. Now they’re trying to dig up accusations that obviously have no merit. Is he that big of a threat? I sure would like to know who is paying Jim Galloway. I read that Carl Camon went to the Dominican Republic to help with the water crisis, to New Orleans to help hurricane victims, and most recently to Haiti to find a way to help the Haitian people. This of course didn’t make the AJC. This type of news doesn’t sell papers. I believe in Carl’s ability to lead and despite all the negativity, I believe he still has a chance, especially since more people know him now. Find more, like I did, on his website: http://www.camonforgovernor.com

Trust

March 19th, 2010
8:18 am

Even though Camon has a long road ahead of him, I’m glad that he stood up and fought the corrupt Professional Standards Commission (PSC). The Director of the PSC (Dr. Gary Walker) was apparently fired from the same system where Camon worked, in Valdosta, and now he is the head of the PSC, go figure. I was also at the debate at UGA last night, and the first thing out of Camon’s mouth was the AJC article. He said, “If I were guilty, I would have not shown up here tonight. I would have dropped out of the race. I am innocent, and I am staying in the race to help fight for innocent teachers in Georgia and across the U.S.”. Say what you want about him, but you can’t deny that he has courage.

BABY SAY

March 19th, 2010
8:49 am

SOM PIN’ IN DA MILK AINT CLEEN. PS C GRUP…..///NO GOOOD SOM TIIME.

IsThisFair

March 19th, 2010
11:02 am

Nearly 60 teachers are accused in Georgia every month. Where is the story on the rest of them? The PSC obviously is so ignorant that they don’t see what is happening here. All a student has to say is that something happened and it becomes fact. Fire the PSC and Gary Walker again. Let’s hold everyone accountable, even the students. Here’s a link to all of the PSC members and their pictures. https://www.gapsc.com/Commission/CommissionMembers.asp. Send them an email and tell them to get their act together, and oh, let’s check their records, you would be surprised…

Payme

March 19th, 2010
11:04 am

I smell a lawsuit. Can I have some of the money Mr. Camon?

nowayjose38123

March 19th, 2010
7:29 pm

@South Ga: The truth is never a smear campaign. Maybe Mr. Galloway doesn’t like him politically, but he didn’t cause him to resign after being accused of groping, kissing, and talking about getting married to an underage girl. The only person caught lying in all of this, that I know of, is McBerry because it is quite obvious the meeting (which he initially stated in writing never occurred) with the girl took place. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to. When you hand ammunition like that to your enemies, you deserve it.

Crooks Rule

March 21st, 2010
11:20 am

Georgia has enough lowlife, crooks, fraudsters, etc. in the legislature as it is. The last thing they need are a couple of sex addicts.

AJ

March 23rd, 2010
3:20 pm

To Crooks Rule

Usually people who have deep dark secrets themselves spend a great deal of time on blogs, in an effort to coverup their own evil ways and divert attention from themselves. Are you one of them? In the real world, being accused, with no evidence to prove it, doesn’t mean that you are a sex addict. I wonder what they would find, if they checked your record. Hmmm!

Grace

April 19th, 2010
10:40 am

Let’s get some facts straight. She was not a student at the school that McBerry taught at. She was a member of the youth group at the church that McBerry had been an interim youth pastor at. The youth pastor and his wife caught them on the dirt road. One question for all you educators, Do you met your students on a dirt road after church?