‘I tried to tell the school’: Victims in alleged City View ISD misconduct speak out

WARNING: Content in this story may be upsetting to some readers.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 9:03 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Makayla Martin and Samantha Brothers are two former City View students who have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment under a former City View teacher Bob Morris. Morris died of a single gunshot wound at his home Monday night; officials have not confirmed if the death was a suicide.

“We were best friends and to know that this was going on at the same time and we both could tell. Because we knew that each other were hurting but we never knew why and we were too afraid to tell each other,” Makayla Martin, former City View student said.

But the question that remains in everyone’s mind is, where were the authorities?

“A lot of people are probably wondering why now, why are you coming forward now? And I was like, I tried telling the school and I was told if I were to tell anyone about this I was going to get expelled,” Martin said.

In a statement, school district officials said no complaints were made directly to the district but all three girls said that wasn’t the case.

“I went to the office and then I talked to Bushong and Frazier and they told me not to tell anybody,” Brothers said.

All of the girls we spoke to attended City View Junior/Senior high school around six years ago. They said the alleged grooming and abuse started when they were freshmen and sophomores, and that they were interviewed by school officials about the incidents a year or two later.

Angel Rodriguez said she was interviewed not as a victim of abuse, but as a friend of one of the alleged victims who knew what had happened. She said the interview did not go well.

“I told them everything I knew and then Frazier was like ‘Well, do you know what this means?’ He was just kind of asking me, ‘Do you know what you’re saying?’” Rodriguez said. “And then he was like, ‘I go to church with him and his family.’ He was like, ‘You know he has a wife and kids?’”

When it seemed like nothing came of the investigation, the girls tried to move on with their lives. But when a local media outlet proclaimed their alleged abuser to be Texoma’s “Coach of the Year,” Rodriguez said she had to speak up.

“I’m going to post, I asked for everyone’s permission, I was like ‘hey, I can block out your name, your profile picture, I’m just going to post your experience,” Rodriguez said.

That post went viral, and the school district confirmed in a statement that it launched an investigation. They also said an employee was placed on paid leave, though they did not confirm that it was Morris. After Morris’ death yesterday, attention has turned back to the school authorities, with some questioning if the allegations were taken seriously.

The girls now want their stories to be heard as an important measure of bringing justice and closure.

Samantha Brothers said it started small.

“It was just in the classroom making me give him kisses. He would eventually start taking my phone out of my back pocket and then make me stay late after class. I remember one day I told him that it had to stop and that I wasn’t going to do it anymore. He told me that he was going to take my phone to the office if I didn’t and that he would fail me,” Brothers said.

Brothers said that she spoke up to the school because unlike other victims, she didn’t think she was alone in the abuse.

“I remember I went to the school one day because I just had a bad feeling that I wasn’t the only one. Because I would see him staring at other people doing the same thing,” Brothers said. “So when I realized that I wasn’t the only one, I went to the office and then I talked to Bushong and Frazier, and they told me not to tell anybody.”

“I was always so scared that nobody would believe me and that I was the only one,” Brothers said. “He really did make us feel special, like we were the only ones.”

Makayla Martin said she knew Morris as the man who coached her cousins, and the teacher whose classroom was close to her aunt’s. When she lost her birth mother in October of her freshman year, the wound was “very, very fresh.”

“He always told me, ‘If you need anything, and I mean, anything, I’m here for you. You can always come and talk to me,’” said Martin.

But then, Martin said Morris took her phone after she was caught texting her dad about lunch, and told her to see him after class.

“I thought he was going to tell me, hey, you have to write this essay. Hey, you have to do a report, write sentences. Don’t do it again,” she said. “No, it was, ‘If you want this back, you have to kiss me on the cheek.’ And I was like, why? And he’s like, if you want your phone back, you’re gonna have to kiss me on the cheek.”

“I was like, I can’t get in trouble. But my dad, that weekend we were having a trip. So I was like, I have to have my phone. Of course, I had a boy that was texting me. I was like, I have to text them back.”

Martin said she gave him a kiss on the cheek, but Morris told her, “No, you’re gonna have to kiss me for longer than that.” Martin said she thought she would just close her eyes, but “whenever I went to lean in, he turned and kissed me on the lips.”

She said Morris asked her to meet him after school, and she went, thinking it was an apology. But instead, Morris allegedly said he had missed her: “He grabbed my waist, and then he slid his hand into my lower back pocket. And I was like, I’ll just sit there, like, trembling. And he was like, ‘Come see me after school.’”

Martin said at first, she was “really creeped out,” but as her relationship with Morris progressed, she became convinced she was the only one receiving this kind of attention.

“At that time, I was in love with the idea of love. Someone was paying attention to me, and that’s all I had wanted. I felt it. I felt wanted.” Martin later said, “He told me he loved me. So I thought he did. And I thought I was in love with him too. And at the time of stuff, he was telling me, he’s like, I’ll leave my wife for you. Or I truly do love you like, this isn’t just a high school flame.”

Martin said she would communicate with Morris via Snapchat, and that it was not always sexual. But one night, on the anniversary of her mother’s death, he asked her to meet him.

Martin said she sat in her car after Morris had left, two hours after her curfew, bawling: “All you think about is his wife, and his kids.”

“Now that I’m thinking back on it, I’m actually kind of getting mad. I’m also super emotional, but I’m kind of getting mad. Because he’s now talking about, like, ‘Oh, this is gonna affect my family.’ You weren’t hesitating at all. You weren’t nervous. I kept looking around. I was like, someone’s gonna pull up on us. You weren’t, like you had done this before.”

Martin said she was with Morris up until around her junior year, and that she felt worthless and at times, suicidal. But her true breaking point was when she went to a basketball game Morris was coaching, and he tried to introduce her to his wife. When he tried to talk to her after the game, she ended their relationship.

Martin said she then went to the school. Initially, she was afraid it would be Morris’ word against hers, and she was afraid the school would believe him over her.

“I sat down with, what was it, Daryl Frazier, is that his name? And Tony Bushong.”

It was like he [Morris] could do no wrong in the eyes of anyone, especially at that school. And I told him everything. And Bushong was like, ‘Does anybody else know about this?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘Well, I know his family. They’re good people.’”

Martin said she was confused and upset: “I’m trusting you enough to tell you this. At the time, I didn’t even want to talk to my parents about this. And he [Bushong] told me, he was like, If this gets out, he’s like, ‘I don’t hear anything else about this. If this gets out, you will be expelled.’”

Martin chose not to go to the police at the time: “This was my year for like college people looking in. I was in band, I loved band. Like, I was decent. I wasn’t the best, but I was decent. And I had already had a couple of people reaching out to me who wanted to hear me play. So I was like, this could ruin everything that I’m working so hard for if I go to the police about it. The school doesn’t believe me. So why would the police?”

Martin said that after she went to the school, she refused to speak with Morris about anything involving their relationship and continued refusing his advances up until her junior year of high school.

“And then he hits me with the, we know I’m over your grade, right? So if you don’t do as I say your grade will drop and it will fail you. And then I looked at him. I was like, Are you serious? And he was like I don’t want to have to say, I love you, and I want to be with you and all of this. And I was like, b***s***. No, you don’t care about anyone but yourself... And finally it stopped.”

After graduating high school in 2020, Martin tried to move on. After years of self-blame, she began to forgive herself.

“And then I realized, it’s not your fault. Makayla, you were a victim of what happened. You were 15 years old, being taken advantage of by a 30-year-old man who knew ‘right from wrong.’ You did too, but this is a 15-year age difference. Even though it was consensual, right, it really wasn’t Makayla, because you didn’t know. I mean, you knew better. But he used his position, and he used his power to take advantage of you. You were vulnerable, you had just lost your mom, you needed someone there for you and he thought he could take advantage of you and manipulate you and get what he wanted.”

Makayla Martin

And when Makayla saw the Facebook post from Angel Rodriguez, a girl she went to high school with, she learned there were others, and finally felt able to step forward.

“I thought I was the only one. He always made me feel special. And just to know that there were others, now I wasn’t dealing with just terrified me anymore. Because I have a cousin who’s going to go up there in a couple of years and I don’t know what I would do if she was a victim, and I knew I could do something to stop it.”

News Channel 6 confirmed two victims did file police reports on Monday, but officials say the police investigation may have ended with Morris’ passing just hours later. City View ISD provided a statement before learning of Morris’ passing; News Channel 6 reached out for an update Tuesday, but had not gotten a response by the time of publishing.

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