By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
HENRYETTA, OK -- An Oklahoma school superintendent is charged with a sex crime against a five-year-old relative. Pocola School officials say the school board suspended Bruce Shelley on Monday from his duties as superintendent. Shelley's only held the top job at Pocola for a couple of weeks. But, he's a long-time educator, who's now accused of raping his five-year-old relative.
News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims spoke exclusively with the little girl's mother in Henryetta. The mother contacted The News On 6 saying she wanted to share her story and try to protect others.
In family snapshots, Bruce Shelley is the picture of a doting family man.
"You kinda look up to em because they're school teachers. They're around children. They take care of children," said Kandyce, the victim's mother. She asked that her last name not be used.
Kandyce says that image evaporated when her husband turned the corner and walked in on a disturbing scene that she blames on Bruce Shelley.
"I want him gone. I shouldn't say what I'd like to see happen," said Kandyce.
She says her five-year-old little girl was caught trying to molest her three-year-old son.
"Why did you that? She's like, 'I didn't do anything.' And, I'm like, Baby, daddy's seen you. I need to know why did you do that. [5-year-old says:] 'Because my Pa did it to me,'" said Kandyce.
Kandyce says "Pa" is Bruce Shelley, her daughter's paternal step-grandfather. He's the 20-year veteran educator now charged with rape and suspended as superintendent from Pocola Schools.
"She's five! That is not supposed to be taken from her. That's supposed to be given when she's ready, not at five years old," said Kandyce.
A police affidavit says the girl told a forensic interviewer Shelley sexually assaulted her around bath time. And, that it happened more than once.
"Because there's like, so much that I don't even know what happened to her. When we got done [with the forensic interview], they told me I didn't want to know half of what she said," said Kandyce, the girl's mother.
Kandyce believes her five year old has acted out what was done to her on her two younger brothers.
"Not only is it done to her, but now it's done to them because she doesn't know better. Because it's OK to be done to her," said Kandyce.
The mother of four is wracked with guilt and sees speaking out as the only thing she can do to heal.
"But when it comes to this, I haven't protected mine. And so, it's kinda my job to make sure the rest are protected," said Kandyce.
The News On 6 received a copy of Bruce Shelley's employment application. It says he has 20 years of experience as a superintendent and teacher in schools from Kaw City to Seminole to Watson.
Shelley has no criminal record and is out on bond. The News On 6 contacted him to get his side of the story, but he did not return calls before deadline.