Document dates ex-Zavalla coach’s behavior to 2010 Woden ISD incident

Updated: Oct. 25, 2016 at 11:58 PM CDT
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Richard Cratty in 2011 (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Richard Cratty in 2011 (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Oct.25 (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Oct.25 (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Oct.21 (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Oct.21 (Source: Angelina County Jail)

ZAVALLA, TX (KTRE) - The Angelina County Sheriff's Office has filed a new criminal charge against a Zavalla coach accused of fondling a student who he had been sending improper emails to.

Richard Warren Cratty Jr., 31, of Nacogdoches, was arrested on a charge of second-degree online solicitation of a minor on Friday. He now has a new charge of second-degree improper relationship between educator and student.

His new bond is set at $200,000.

Newly released documents show Cratty's behavior dates back to 2010, when a Woden ISD student accused Cratty, who was a substitute teacher, of trying to kiss her on the mouth.

According to the newest arrest affidavit, the sheriff's office was investigating the original charge when they learned the school district had a pending investigation from a currently enrolled student, who alleged Cratty touched her inappropriately on separate occasions at the school.

The investigator spoke to that 17-year-old victim on Oct. 19, who said she was coming back on a bus from a sporting event when Cratty approached her and asked what she was doing. She said she told him she was reviewing a history tutorial assignment. She said he could help her and provided him her email address, which had the handle of "Jack Sparrow." She said they did communicate in that email about school studies.

The girl said that she was preparing for a history test and reached out to Cratty for assistance. She said when she was leaving that Cratty hugged her, grabbed her hands and placed them around him, as if they "both agreed to the hugging, and wouldn't let go." She said Cratty then moved his hands and began touching her inappropriately.

The girl said she was able to separate herself from him and told him to stop. She said she emailed him that night, saying his actions were inappropriate and that they needed to keep it school-related only.

According to the affidavit, investigators got consent to search the girl's cellphone and found an email from Sept. 30, in which she told him it should not have happened, because he is married, and he responded with "we ever gonna get past emails and words" and that he alluded to implications of his desires of having her "preferably give him a back massage, and assorted inappropriate electronic messages, indicating he wanted something more than a proper teacher/student relationship."

According to the affidavit, similar allegations have been made against Cratty at other school districts, where he was terminated and criminal charges have even been filed against him. But there is documentation he has lied about his background history, stating he has never been charged with any criminal offense.

Nacogdoches County Jail records show Cratty was arrested in 2011 on a charge of Class-C assault.

That incident report, which was filed on Nov. 11, 2010, states Cratty was employed with Woden ISD as a substitute teacher. He was not subbing that day, but was at the school to eat with his fiance. A girl said she saw Cratty and was on her way to a room to get her binder for another class when Cratty followed her in. She said she had started to leave the class when Cratty called her back.

The girl said Cratty asked her why her birthday was not listed on the calendar and the girl said, "Well, I guess I'm not important enough."

The girl said Cratty said "You're important enough to me" and pulled her into an intimate hug.

The girl said she did not hug Cratty back and Cratty then tried to kiss her on the mouth, but the girl turned her face and he kissed her cheek.

The Woden ISD chief reported viewing video surveillance, which showed the girl and Cratty go into the room and leave three minutes later. After that, the video shows what appears to be Cratty blowing a kiss to the girl.

Court records show the assault case was disposed of after Cratty pleaded guilty and paid a $567 fine.

Cratty resigned from Zavalla ISD on Monday after he was arrested Friday on an accusation of inappropriate emails to a former student.

The new affidavit also stated similar allegations of a romantic relationship between Cratty and a student were brought up from a previous district. Cushing ISD Superintendent Michael Davis confirmed that the district had launched an investigation last school year but they could not find anything of physical proof.

"What we had here was a situation that was not as severe as Zavalla," Davis said. "We had some offenses that would not have lead to immediate termination if they were true. Here in Cushing we were dealing with but when we got in this situation we had to go downs these trails and talk to students and parents just to make sure there wasn't anything that warranted a report to SBEC or a criminal investigation," Davis said. "We didn't find those types of evidence. Unfortunately, the situation arose and the events happened in Zavalla. Looking back we felt some of the pieces we had needed to go to the Angelina County investigators."

Davis said the school decided to remove Cratty from his classroom and from being the softball coach before the season started. Davis said that Cratty would submit a resignation in April for personal reasons.

"The only thing we found that he did wrong was lie on his application," Davis said. he did not tell us about a previous charge against him. We did our background check but the class C crimes do not show up. We learned of it later. I did talk with Chief Stone in Woden about the incident after we found out."

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