Friday, May 14, 2010

What's Going on at Permian High School?

Guerdwich Montimere, in the white uniform, playing basketball for Permian High School
Officials say a 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school student and basketball star in West Texas was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexual assault.
Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff's Office said Guerdwich Montimere was charged with suspicion of sexual assault, a second-degree felony, and was being held in the Ector County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
No additional details were available.
Thursday, Montimere was released on $7,500 bond about five hours after his arrest on a felony charge of tampering with government documents.
Montimere originally was arrested Tuesday on a misdemeanor of failure to identify himself to a police officer. Permian High School officials say he admitted then that he wasn't 16-year-old sophomore Jerry Joseph.
The alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl, reported on Wednesday that in August 2009, when she was 15, she was involved in a relationship with Montimere under the pretense that he was Joseph. The girl reported to authorities that she and Montimere had a sexual relationship at a residence in East Odessa.
Now, as I said earlier, there's no way this homeless 22 year-old man could have, or should have, been able to start playing high school basketball at Permian without getting some sort of help. Help getting registered for school. Help getting a place to live. Help getting clothes, and shoes to play in, and all of the other things that go with being a high school student. What is the economic incentive for a kid to play basketball in high school? He should be in college, right? But he fakes his way back into high school? What were his grades? Did he go to class? Somehow, playing against smaller, weaker, and younger kids just doesn't ring completely true here. There had to be some economic incentive for a homeless kid to play high school basketball. And, why as a 10th grader? Why not as a senior, which would have been easier to get away with?
Hey, charity is a beautiful thing. But this kid is getting railroaded. He's taking the fall for the malfeasance or incompetence of a number of adults whose job it is to look after kids. Or, win state championships. Who the hell knows anymore?
Here are some pertinent details:
Guerdwich MontimereSuspicions about Montimere's identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with the player recognized him at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark. in April.

ECISD officials initially rejected the allegation and a judge granted coach Danny Wright guardianship so that Montimere would be allowed to remain in school. The district said Montimere had claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Haiti with the name of Jerry Joseph.
After continued investigations, ECISD officials, police and ICE agents confirmed Montimere's true identity Tuesday, and he confessed to the scheme after being confronted, officials said.
Montimere graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007. Authorities determined he was not an illegal immigrant but rather a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.
He first enrolled at ECISD as a ninth grader in February of 2009, having showed officials a Haitian birth certificate indicating he was 15, Adkins said.

At the time, Montimere told school district staff he was living with a half-brother in the dorm of a local university, Adkins said, but he later admitted the man he had stayed with was a friend.
Do you think that judge was a booster? I don't know. I read that and my bullshit detector goes off. He intercedes and grants the coach guardianship. How many games were left to play in the season? Was that really in the best interests of everyone involved? Or did this ensure that they could close ranks, ride out the season, and figure out a way to make this go away? Is someone going to look at this judge and his decision? I hope so.
Really, do you think for one second that a men's basketball coach, and a high school educator, and all of the people who work at that school, and the administrators of that school, can't tell the difference between a 22 year-old man and a 16 year-old kid?
Did the tattoos on his inner arm cause any warning bells to go off? Or, perhaps the rather hinky living arrangements? Or, the fact that he presented a birth certificate that probably wasn't anywhere near being real or valid? Or, perhaps the fact that he doesn't look like a 16 year-old kid?
If this young man is truly guilty of fooling all of those adults, then those adults have no business taking care of the educational needs of children. Period. End of story.

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