Kell Principal Reports to Cobb Jail

Trudie Donovan, who is retiring this month, has been charged with failing to report child abuse; a social studies teacher charged with sexual battery is not in custody.

Updated 9:40 p.m.

Retiring Kell High School principal Trudie Donovan turned herself in to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center Thursday after being charged by Cobb Police with a misdemeanor for failing to report child abuse.

According to booking reports, Donovan was processed around 7 p.m. Thursday and was being held on a $1,000 bond.

The Marietta Daily Journal reported that Kell social studies teacher James Chadwick Brigham has not reported to authorities after being charged with one count of felony sexual battery and two counts of misdemeanor battery. The charges stem from accusations made by two students in separate incidents in May.

Original report, posted at 7:07 p.m.

A  teacher has been charged by Cobb Police with three counts of battery and sexual battery against two students, and the retiring principal has been charged with failure to report child abuse in connection with the incidents. 

Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said in a release issued late Thursday afternoon that James Chadwick Brigham, 37, of Canton, has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery and a single count of felony sexual battery.

Trudie Donovan, who announced earlier this month at the end of June, was charged with failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor offense.

Pierce did not identify Donovan and Brigham as Kell employees and deferred to Cobb school officials, who were not immediately available for comment. 

Brigham is listed as a teacher with the Kell social studies department. He and Donovan were not processed through the Cobb Adult Detention Center and are not in custody, Pierce said.

He said that the investigation began when a Kell student was reportedly the victim of battery and sexual battery incidents at the Northeast Cobb school on May 17. The student reported the incidents the following day to school officials. The Cobb Police Crimes against Children Unit began investigating on May 22, according to Pierce.

Two days later, on May 24, Pierce said another student went to school officials with a battery complaint, which was forwarded to police for investigation the same day.

Donovan, 61, who had been in her post at Kell for six years, abruptly announced her retirement on June 8, after what Cobb school superintendent Michael Hinojosa told The Marietta Daily Journal was "a situation involving the reporting of a student matter."

He did not elaborate, saying it was a personnel matter. 

Donovan has been a teacher an administrator in the for 34 years, with a long tenure at Walton High School. She also was at Harrison High School before being appointed at Kell in 2006.

Portinoy June 22, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I find the tactics of this publication to be deplorable. The "Breaking" link to this page states "Kell Teacher Accused of Sexual Battery" and then opens to a photograph of the Principal. The accused sexual batterer, a teacher, is not mentioned until the third paragraph. Methods such as these, as well as the ambiguous writing, call the veracity of the article, and perhaps the entire publication, into question. After reading the article and reviewing the Patch "About Us" page it becomes clear that this endeavor is little more than a sophomoric attempt. I could be compared to a common gossip rag but at least those writers have the common decency to place their names on their work, Other than Dana Pierce I have no knowledge of the individuals named in the article but I do know innuendo and slanted, self-serving reporting when I see it. Shame on you Patch contributors!
debbie mizell June 22, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I agree with the above article. The teacher being charged should have had their picture on the front page. I know Trudie personally and she is the most caring and professional person I have ever met. They are going to ruin her entire life in the school district with a misreported story. Trudie stand tall. Debbie Mizell
Susi June 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I totally agree with the other posters - the story/photo should focus on the teacher accused of the abuse. I worked with Trudie for 2 years, several years back, and know her to be a caring/upstanding person. it saddens/disgusts me to see the focus on her in this case over a 4-day failure-to-report.
Wendy Parker (Editor) June 22, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I appreciate the comments. We will be posting a new story momentarily with more on the teacher. Donovan was charged and did turn herself into jail, and we do have to report that as well.
Eric Borg June 22, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I agree with those who posted as well. The link as well as the headline is a sucker punch. It is possible that the delay was a lack of judgment... but a mug shot of the principal connected to the link referencing sexual battery by another person is a low blow. Eric Borg
Marge Williams June 22, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Marge While my heart goes out to Ms. Donovan, these types of laws are in place to protect students and regardless of the length of time, Ms. Donovan had a professional duty to respond immediately to any accusations. Just think about the Sandusky trial and if it were your child would it still be ok to delay? After 34 years she cannot use poor judgment as an excuse.
Anne June 23, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Especially after ANOTHER CCSD principal lost his job for the same thing in march and this is pounded into us every year...she was criminally negligent and depending on the timing of that second charge...she may have facilitated another incident... She has NO EXCUSE and should be prosecuted.
debbie mizell June 23, 2012 at 03:52 AM
While you have published the prinicipal's picture (mug) shot on the front page but have yet to publish either here or on TV a picture of the teacher that was charged. Where is he???? Reporters need to do the entire job of reporting or not report anything at all. This is the way people's lives are ruined.
RN June 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I know Trudie Donovan to be the most professional and outstanding teacher and administrator in Cobb County. Her loss will leave a hole in our community. While there is no excuse for not reporting we do not know the entire story and I find it offensive that her mug shot for a misdemeanor is the focus of the story. Where are the facts about the teacher? As a teacher I am embarrassed by the trash that "has to be published."
Wendy Parker (Editor) June 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM
In case anyone commenting here has not seen this, here's a separate story posted Friday with more details about the teacher. http://northeastcobb.patch.com/articles/bond-for-kell-teacher-set-at-25k
Nunya Bizness June 23, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The reason the "spotlight" is on Trudie Donovan is Because as a person in the school district WE ARE MANDATORY reporters. This article is about someone who failed to protect children by reporting alledgly abuse, which in MY book is no different than an abuser! She deserves to have her life turned upside down cause ten perhaps she'll learn what MANDATORY means.
Anne June 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM
EXACTLY!! What part of 'mandated reporter' did she not understand... I don't care HOW it is spun.... if she was informed on Friday and then waited until TUESDAY how is she NOT guilty of at least criminal negligence?!?!?! Especially after this Sandusky/Penn State mess??!?! IMO that crap should have been dealt with before she left school Friday! Her actions are what is going to make the rest of us 'suffer' through 'extra training' this upcoming year! And in NO WAY do I consider her actions (or lack of) professional or those indicative of someone who 'truly cares about kids' Spare me! She is just one more example of what embarrasses me about my profession!
Anne June 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
She broke the law!!!! After 34 years in education if she does not understand what 'mandated reporter' means after the countless 'seminars' we have to endure every year... then she is either stupid, incompetent, or both!! Sorry.... there is NO excuse I can imagine for her waiting that long to report! NONE! She is an embarrassment to the profession!
Mike June 25, 2012 at 09:37 PM
My heart goes out to Mrs. Donovan. She is truly a wonderful person, and has dedicated her career to serving the public. Please focus on the criminals.
Mit June 26, 2012 at 01:11 AM
mike: That is exactly what the ccsd, cops, and DA have done.
Bill sparks July 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Donovan turned her back versus dealing head on with the situation. She was in a management role and tried to take the easy way out. I wonder how "caring" she would be to the posters above if this were their child.
Florida Dawg August 04, 2012 at 01:15 PM
There are several posters here who apparently didn't learn much in school themselves. In our country, contrary to the ignorant lip flapping here, you are innocent until proven guilty. I guess everyone here forgets THAT until it's someone close to YOU being accused. I have known Trudie Donovan for 40 years and as soon as I heard this story I knew the important side, HER side wasn't being told and it was only those ignorantly judgmentally jumping to their conclusions knowing only one side of the story who already had her pegged as guilty. It seems now, even the justice system knows better than the naysayers here as the judge recently ruled No Probable Cause in Mrs. Donovan's case. So. Now. Which of you stone throwers are going to show you have the slightest scintilla of personal integrity by publicly apologizing here to Mrs. D for your jumping the gun in your early convictions of her? You should all be ashamed of yourselves if you won't.
Bill sparks August 04, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Dawg, (not the way I remember spelling the animal in high school), you seem to have all the answers. Please enlighten us on the fact as you know them.
Florida Dawg August 04, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Allow me to simplify it for you Bill. You and the other 4 posters who publicly disparaged Mrs. Donovan in this forum did so based soley on information you gleaned as it was reported by the media. To automatically assume that the media Has All and Would Necessarily Report All of the relevant facts (IF they had them) is ignorant. While the Solicitor still has to voice their side, the Judge in the case Has In Fact determined there is No Probable Cause to continue Mrs. Donovan's prosecution. The Judge made his decision presumably based on All The Known Facts while you and the other four mudslingers made YOUR decisions to publicly crucify this dedicated Principal based only on what the media had reported and What You Wanted To Believe. Based on that, IMO, you and the other four owe Mrs. Donovan a public apology in the same forum you chose to jump the gun and stone her in. There. Is that simple enough for you? (PS It's called a nickname Bill. It's not required that it be spelled "correctly".)


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