Notification Letter: Prater Didn't Follow Protocol | News
On Friday, Macon Police announced they dropped charges against seven Northeast High School students originally charged with rape.
The three week investigation was in the media spotlight after Superintendent Romain Dallemand announced he wasn't aware Macon Police were not investigating.
A day before Macon Police announced they officially took over the investigation, Bibb Interim Campus Police Chief, Stephanie Prater, was put on administrative leave.
Through an open records request, 13WMAZ's Amy Aubert recieved a copy of the letter notifying Prater that she was being put on administrative leave.
It was sent to Prater by the District's Deputy Superintendent of Student Affairs, Edward Judie.
An excerpt from the letter says says, "You failed to follow the school district's established notification protocol for crisis management situations." It goes on to say, "Your failure to advise the appropriate staff members led to critical steps being missed by school district staff members."
But e-mails given to 13WMAZ last week by Prater's lawyer show Stephanie Prater reached out to Judie throughout the investigation.
In an e-mail dated January 21, Prater wrote, "We have two students in custody. Initial suspect confessed to his involvement and identified three more students." It goes on to say, "Officers did a wonderful job on this case. Still no video evidence as of yet, but we are still looking. Again, I will keep you posted."
Judie responded to that email, "Great job Chief." Prater wrote back to him, "Thank you, Sir."
Three days later, on January 24, Prater sent an update to Judie and another district official saying, FYI, two more students were arrested and charged on the case today while we were at Springdale."
The notification letter also states, "It has come to my attention that you also made the decision to decline the services of the Macon Police Department without consulting your supervisor or senior level staff of the school district."
In an e-mail on January 25th, Prater wrote, "I again received word that MPD leaders are still very angry about this and have made it known to their staff. But again, no MOU exists that would support them immediately or in consultation for taking over cases that clearly occur in our jurisdiction."
In response to that e-mail, Alisha Allen-Carter, the Assistant to the Superintendent, wrote in part, "You all have been awesome."
Carter copied both Judie and another investigator on that e-mail.
Superintendent Dallemand declined to comment Friday on Prater's administrative leave.
The letter also said, "Your decision has created a negative impact on the operations of the Campus Police Department as well as impacting the reputation and integrity of the school district."
We could not reach Romain Dallemand for comment Monday.
The district's Public Relations contact, Stephanie Hartley, says she doesn't know if Prater is still on administrative leave.
The letter says she'd remain on leave pending the investigation.