The testimony came in the opening day of a trial for 46-year-old Joe Wayne Cates
, a former Plano school district teacher of the year, has been charged with three counts of indecency with a child.He
is accused of fondling three boys between June 1989 and May 1994.Mr. Cates
, who is free on bail, resigned from the district in July.
"I was scared; I wasn't sure what had happened," said a 27-year-old man who testified that Mr. Cates
fondled him when he
was 14."I didn't know what it meant.I was embarrassed.He
had been a good friend." He
said the incident took place at Mr. Cates' home during summer 1989, the night before a scheduled trip to Oklahoma with a church youth group.The man said that Mr. Cates, who was his science teacher at Hendrick Middle School, fondled him as he slept in Mr. Cates' bed.
The second witness, a 21-year-old man, told jurors that Mr. Cates
fondled him outside his
pants when he
was about 10.The man said the abuse took place as he
visited Mr. Cates' classroom while his
own teacher was away at a conference.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Don McDermitt asked the 27-year-old why he
continued a friendship with Mr. Cates
after the alleged incident.
was still my friend. ...I didn't know how to break off that relationship," the man replied.Mr. Cates
said, had become sort of a father figure for him after his
own father committed suicide in 1987.
When the 27-year-old man contacted Mr. Cates
via e-mail with the allegation in 2001, Mr. Cates
didn't remember the incident, according to documents presented in court.
However, after the man asked Mr. Cates
in another e-mail if he
believed him, Mr. Cates
said, "I have no reason not to believe you," according to an e-mail read in court. Mr. Cates
said in the message that he
suffered from depression during that time and was taking medication.And a doctor had told him that the medication could have caused memory loss.In an attempt to help jar his
memory, Mr. Cates
had visited a hypnotist, but nothing was discovered.
Mr. McDermitt said that Mr. Cates
had lied about seeing a hypnotist.
said, panicked after hearing the 27-year-old man's allegation and he
character and reputation would be tarnished as they were in 1994 when two boys accused him of fondling them.
However, the cases were reopened when the 27-year-old man came forward with his
allegation against Mr. Cates
If convicted, Mr. Cates
could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge.Indecency with a child is a second-degree felony.
or call 214-977-6847.