Editor’s Note: This is a letter sent to the Pahrump Valley Times this week from the parents of a young Peoria, Ariz. girl whose allegations against a Nye County school psychologist in January led to that man’s arrest on multiple felony child pornography charges. We print this letter here for the benefit of readers at the request of the parents of this young victim.
We ask to remain anonymous to protect the identity of our family. In so doing, we request that our names do not appear in this article. I choose not to tell of how we became affiliated with Mr. Hood, but we have known him for 3 years without incident. We write to you out of concern for the children of the Nye County School District. We tell our story, not for sensational purposes, but out of the love of our heart for families everywhere and as a learning experience for all within this circulation. We plead for compassion and privacy for all victims involved.
I am the mother of the wonderful Peoria, AZ girl that brought this story to light. I am highly concerned about the Superintendent of the Nye County School District. I am concerned about the lack of urgency shown by Mr. Norton concerning an email that was sent to him prior to my notifying the Peoria, AZ Police Department.
My daughter came to me the very day that Mr. Hood committed his offense on her. She was crying, frightened, and felt horrible about the pictures he took of her (none of them exposed her “private areas”, but she did realize that she was inappropriately attired as to our standards). She told me that he never touched her however, he did ask her to remove her outer clothing to expose her bra and underwear and reasoned with her that it was nothing different from a bikini (also attire not permitted to be worn by our daughter).
This brave little girl told him under NO terms would she EVER allow him to see her in a bra and underwear. She stated that every moment she was in this situation with Mr. Hood, she prayed to her Heavenly Father that she would be safe and protected. We are very grateful that her prayers were answered and it went no further.
The moment she walked in the door from her excursion with Mr. Hood she grabbed me by the hand and took me to my bedroom, cried and told me the whole story. A day or two of reeling from shock, comforting a hurt, scared, little girl, and trying to convince her that everything would be okay, I decided how to proceed.
I emailed Mr. Norton on January 2nd hoping that the process of stopping Mr. Hood’s probable abuse of children in the NCSD would be quicker by going to him directly.
Mr. Hood was not arrested until late January and without the participation of Mr. Norton. Mr. Norton has NEVER contacted me as requested. It has now been 6 weeks. My husband, daughter, and I went to the Peoria Police Department on Saturday January 5th to report the incident. (My husband wanted to be off work and available to be there for our daughter.)
It has always been our belief that it did not begin with our daughter and that there were other victims. We wanted them to be found, so they could receive the help they would surely be in need of. We also were very concerned with the prevention of further abuse.
We are very pleased by the choices our daughter made and the courage she had to say NO to an adult that was an authority figure when she KNEW something was not right. While this has been a very difficult time for our family, our daughter has managed to make lemonade out of lemons. She has grown and learned from this experience. She feels very empowered as a young lady, by 2 choices she made. First, she refused Mr. Hood’s inappropriate request. Second, she came directly to her parents to report what happened. In addition, she told Mr. Hood, without my prior knowledge, that she no longer trusted him and that she would never be alone with him again.
She took her power back. She feels pleased that her report has helped victims of Mr. Hood and stopped future offenses from occurring. While I am sure it was not an easy thing to do, she knew it was the right thing to do.
I have worked as a protector of children for many years now and I am horrified by what has been uncovered by one 12-year-old little girl.
We have forgiveness in our hearts for Mr. Hood and the pain he has inflicted on our family and friends, however we do believe that he does need to appropriately serve his debt to society for his crimes.
We sincerely hope that he will NEVER have access to a single child for as long as he lives.
We DO have a message for parents … empower your children with the right to say no to any adult. So many times we teach our children to be submissive and obedient to authority figures and this is a correct principle to teach them, however, there are exceptions to that rule. They do need to learn that they have the right to say NO when an adult is going against the values and morals we teach them. Give them that right. NO PERSON, WHATEVER AUTHORITY THEY MAY HOLD, IS EXEMPT.
Mom to one very brave little girl