By Kelsey Givens
The Nye County School District psychologist arrested last month on child pornography charges was referred to the Fifth Judicial District Court last week to determine whether or not he needs to undergo a mental health evaluation before his case can continue.
Perry Allison Hood, 69, appeared in Tonopah Justice Court on Feb. 6, where a motion to conditionally waive his right to a preliminary hearing and bind him up to the higher court was entered on his behalf.
Hood’s court-appointed attorney represented him at the hearing where the motion was granted by Justice of the Peace Jennifer Klapper after there was reportedly no opposition from prosecutors.
Hood is set to appear in District Court on March 19. At that time a judge will decide if Hood needs to be sent to a state mental health institution, such as Lakes Crossing, to be evaluated for his ability to competently go forward with his court proceedings.
Hood was arrested on Jan. 22 after a Nye County Sheriff’s detective was contacted by an officer from the Peoria Police Department in Arizona who said he was working on a possible child pornography case with ties to a Tonopah resident.
Based on information obtained by both agencies about Hood and his alleged misconduct, NCSO and Peoria detectives worked together to serve a search warrant on his home located at 197 Prospect St.
Inside, officers reportedly discovered more than 90 pages of what appeared to be pornographic images depicting young girls and at least two photos of another young girl tied to his bed.
He was subsequently placed under arrest for the possession of child pornography and booked into the Tonopah Detention Center on $1 million bail.
After his arrest, Hood’s 50-year-old adopted daughter came forward with allegations of sexual abuse he committed against her when she was a teenager.
As this information came to light, many parents of students who worked with Hood and his wife, Delores Hood, a speech therapist for the school district’s northern schools, expressed concern over either one of them returning to their posts with the school district.
Though Delores has not been named as a suspect in the case against her husband or charged as part of the investigation, some parents have said they are uncomfortable with the thought of her working with their children again.
“A man doesn’t cheat on his wife for 15 years and the wife never knows about it,” a concerned father of one of Delores’ students said. “Maybe she didn’t have anything to do with it, but if she knew something and didn’t say anything that’s just as bad.”
Other parents whose children worked with Delores have expressed similar concerns, stating they aren’t comfortable knowing her husband allegedly has been involved in these types of activities for some time.
“My 3-year-old daughter has been doing speech for almost a year with Dolly Hood up in the speech room here in Tonopah, which is very secluded from the rest of the school,” a concerned mother, who wished not to be identified, stated in an email. “It just seems like the longer the school isn’t saying or trying to help any, that they are just hiding something or trying to cover something up.”
What has added to their concern they say is the fact they weren’t alerted to the issue until more than a week after Perry was taken into custody.
“All any of us got was an automated phone call, email, or a letter. And those came two days after the news stories broke out. To me that’s not good enough in a case like this, especially given the fact that these two people were working with quite a few special ed kids ages 3 to 5 who do have severe speech issues,” the concerned mother stated.
Evan Elling, the father of one of Delores’s students in Round Mountain, said he found out first about the arrest from Facebook.
“That is not putting our children first. I understand they have certain things they can’t discuss, but we should have been contacted by the district sooner. Nobody feels that this situation has been handled properly,” he said.
That frustration has led several of these parents to reach out to NCSD administration in hopes of getting answers to their questions.
Elling said he was scheduled to discuss his concerns with the Parent Teacher Organization this week to share his thoughs with other Round Mountain parents over the way the matter was handled.
“They’re not being very forthcoming with information,” Elling said. “As taxpayers, you and I, we pay their salaries and it’s frustrating they’re not saying more.”
Though the district has said its hands are tied in saying more about either of the Hoods’ employment status due to confidentiality issues, one mother said the concerns were greatly put to rest after speaking with Sam Simatos, director of Special Education Support Services for NCSD.
“On Tuesday morning I contacted the Tonopah Elementary School principal and told her I didn’t feel comfortable having Dolly work with my child alone. She told me that she was the only speech therapist she has and that she has not been charged with anything, so they have no reason to let her go and that was all she had to say aside from telling me to contact the superintendant and Sam Simatos,” she said.
“I did, and Mr. Norton directed me to Sam who was very willing to set up a meeting and go over my concerns, where as the principal wasn’t so much. Sam in Pahrump has been much more helpful. He sat down and answered all concerns and assured me he was looking at every area and that if I wanted to, as a parent, I could go in and sit in the sessions,” she stated in an email. “The principal pretty much told me Dolly was our only option, and if we didn’t want her, we’d have to completely take them out of speech. However, Sam down in Pahrump said that they are looking at a variety of solutions and that there could be an aide in there or a parent.”
As part of those solutions to Delores remaining on leave for the time being, another speech therapist from Pahrump has reportedly been sent up to the northern schools to help them for a time as well.
It does not appear a firm date has been set for Delores’ return to her position. Her husband Perry remains in custody at the Tonopah Detention Center in lieu of $1 million bail.