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Updated Saturday, June 05, 2010 1:40 PM

Sherman attorney indicted for sexual assault of a child

BY JERRIE WHITELEY

HERALD DEMOCRAT

Sherman attorney Russell A. "Chip" Pelley was indicted this week on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

The indictment is a formal charge and is not an indication of guilt.

When asked for a comment about the Pelley matter, Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown sent this reply:

"In October of 2009, the Grayson County District Attorney's Office received a report from the Grayson County Sheriff's Office in which local attorney Russell "Chip" Pelley was accused of unlawful sexual contact by a 16-year-old female. In light of Mr. Pelley's status as a member of the local bar, and in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, this office requested the appointment of a special prosecutor to consider the charges. On Oct. 23, 2009, 397th District Judge Brian Gary appointed Collin County District Attorney John Roach as special prosecutor for the case.

"Since that time, the Collin County DA's Office has handled the matter. The case was presented to a Grayson County Grand Jury on Wednesday and an indictment was returned. All further information can be obtained from the Collin County District Attorney's Office."

Pelley did not immediately return a phone call on Friday afternoon seeking a comment about the charge.

In addition to Pelley, three other people were also charged with crimes against children.

Andre Whitedress, 23, of Luella was also indicted on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

Michael Prestridge, 32, of Sherman was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and injury to a child.

David Boyd Jr., 19, of Sherman was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangering a child.

The following people were also indicted on other charges:

* Justin Grant, 21, of Denison - two counts of assault causing bodilly injury family violence (with previous conviction) and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon;

* Jeffery Davenport, 32, of Denison - assault causing bodily injury family violence with a previous conviction;

* Micah Dees, 20, Sherman - possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver;

* Michelle Robinette, 38, possession of a controlled substance and burglary of a habitation;

* Wiliam Whiteacre, 43, of Sherman - possession of a controlled substance;

* David Boyd Jr., 19, of Sherman - possession of a controlled substance;

* Hurlus Taylor, 43, of Sherman - robbery;

* Timothy Burkins, 45, of Sherman - robbery;

* Paul Morrow, 34, of Bells - four counts of forgery of a financial instrument;

* April McClure, 28, of Sherman - possession of a controlled substance;

* Jared Bookout, 29, of Sherman - possession of a controlled substance and pom;

* Lanena Williams, 22, of Sherman - theft of proprety with previous convictions;

* Joshua Palevo, 20, of Sherman - theft of property;

* Thomas Hanley, 34, of Sherman - forgery of a financial instrument;

* David McGraw, 52, of Sherman - burglary of a building;

* Michael Nowlin, 27, of Denison - theft of wire or cable;

* Crissinda Havens, 35, of Sherman - burglary of a habitation;

* Sameul Myers, 36, of Denison - theft of property;

* Tiffany Riley, 25, of Windom - forgery of a financial instrument;

* Ronald Peel, 46, of Gordonville - sex offender failure to register;

* Christopher White, 39, of Coleman - two counts of burglary of a building;

* Ronald Elllis, 51, of Gainesville - two counts of burglary of a building;

* Clifton Bolden, 33, of Denison - theft of property;

* Juilan Flores, 28, of Sherman - theft of property;

* John Boyles, 41, of Pottsboro - possession of marijuana;

* John Brigman, 34, of Sherman - possession of a controlled substance.



Comments ... 42 found!

Chip Pelley : 6/17/2010
I find it all hard to believe! Im not saying it isn't true, just having a hard time digesting it.

Lawman

Look at the file! : 6/13/2010
The ignorant will always draw conclusions that are usually inaccurate 99% of the time. I would suggest that those who want to get a clearer picture head to the district clerk's office and read what is in the criminal jacket. The probable cause is set out in the indictment. At the least one can get a limited picture of what the accused has to defend against.
I have no idea what the facts are in this case. The prudent always withholds judgment until everything is laid out on the table (the trial).
For those who are unaware of how the system works... any DA who is not brain dead can get an indictment on an inanimate object (e.g. a ham sandwich). The reason being is the typical grand jury is a rubber stamp in most cases.

Perry Mason

Mister Pelley : 6/11/2010
I don't know the attorney. Usually, a grand jury finds' something' which needs to be tried in a court of law or they don't rule in favor of a trial. Whether Mr. Pelley is guilty or not, the truth should should come out in court. If he is innocent, then he will be exonerated. If not, he should be treated like any other citizen who commits a felony against a minor. There are many 'good' men who strays away from their normal principals. Sexual assault is a crime whether it is a lawyer, clergyman, or your father/brother. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Being realistic

I'am placing the blame : 6/11/2010
I think its disgusting to hear someone condone and put a blame on a 16yr old even though she might have been willing, this is still a minor and i don't care if the girl had sexual urges, HE IS AN ADULT and not just a 17 or 18yr old MAN either, when your 16 and if you remember that long ago, as a teenager YOU still are developing and cannot handle all adult situations thats why they can't do what a 18yr old can by law, so if the girl wants to be sexually active and have sex with men then i hope that the parents step up and get to the bottom of her way of thinking, but it's creepy and very disturbing to me that someone would blame a teenager and NOT the adult. Why in the world if I'm in my 30's,40's or 50's or whatever would i have sex with a 16yr old? stop blaming the kid and start taking these GROWN ADULTS and prosecuting them

not having distorted views

Placing the blame : 6/11/2010
Why does everyone assume this is 100% Pelley's fault? I was 16 at one time, and I can tell you.... A 16 year old has enough free will to determine whether or not she wants to engage in sexual acts. It's not like this is a 10 year old we're talking about. Did we forget that what we once considered "children" are now becoming sexually invovled at earlier ages? We've all seen or heard of the promiscuous teens. Not saying she is one but... If this girl had been caught with a 17 year old, no one would have had second thought. Granted an adult man should definitely know better than to have sex with a minor. But let's not act like this girl was not a willing participant. Funny that we can prosecute someone for sex with a 16 year old, but what about some counseling and repercussions for the girl? What will keep her from engaging in acts with another adult then sending someone else off to jail even though she was WILLING at the time??

It's not quite so one-sided

Chip : 6/10/2010
Supporter of Chip if we did go to him for help, we paid him hard earned cash to get us out of a system that supports Attorneys just like him !

No I don't give my support to Chip

Compassion for the family : 6/10/2010
The situation is simply tragic. Please respect all of the parties involved and their family by keeping your comments respectful and constructive.

AR

Not Guilty : 6/10/2010
Cynthia: I am not an idiot! I know exactly what I am talking about. In certain situations allegations are made in order to harm one for another persons gain. If you dress inappropriately one day and someone calls you a whore, does that make it so?
As for "a mother", did you ever stop to think that maybe all the evidence in fact was not presented to the grand jury? You have a DA in Collin County with a reputation not show shiny itself. No one has stopped to think about that.
And you dagwood, bankers are not pillars of society. Yes many professions have bad reputation, but lets look at all of the men who have wrapped themselves into the profession of being a "priest" in order to get their hands on children and at so many of the church who looked the other way while it was happening. No profession is squeaky clean.

Supporter of Chip Pelley

SUPPORTER OF CHIP PELLEY : 6/10/2010
Your comment about the attorneys who got in trouble in the 90's for drugs invalidates your opinion. You are clearly numbered amongst the privileged group in Sherman. I grew up with some of them and can assure you they were flawed from an early age. Drug problems amongst the privileged began much earlier than the 90's, and their transgressions were swept under the rug.
If you live long enough, your sins will find you out. The question becomes whether you are ruled by your principles or passions. The privileged of Mr. Pelley's generation appear to be ruled by their passions, because they have not been required to face the consequences of their actions.
The greatest gift a parent can give a child is the realization from an early age that there are consequences for the actions they take. That's a lesson that seldom gets taught to the people in your circle.

Allen

Truth : 6/10/2010
There are two sides to every story/crime. There had to be evedince/wrong doing for a Grand Jury to indict this man.He is an adult, She is a 16 year old. He should have known better than to go there in the first place. As ever warm blooded person knows, some girls can be very tempting to men. I am not saying that this young lady was doing this, but I am saying let the court system do it's thing. All of the evedince will be presented and a jury can make the judgement.

A mother

: 6/10/2010
THIS IS A "CRIMINAL MATTER" NOT A "FAMILY MATTER" IDIOT.... GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!!!!!!!! YA PROVE HE'S INNOCENT... PROVE IT... PROVE IT.

Cynthia

HE IS NOT GUILTY! : 6/10/2010
He was not out hunting anyone. Maybe you people with all this spare time should investigate and dig a little further! You should know how right? This is a personal family matter, NOT a criminal matter! When all of the evidence is finally presented ALL OF YOU WILL FEEL AND LOOK LIKE A BUNCH OF FOOLS! You are right about one thing, his name will be forever smeared and you all are just adding to it. Some of you hypocrites may have even gone to him for help and probably will again. May God be with Chip Pelley and his family, but most of all may God be with all of you who sit in Judgment of others when you have absolutely no right.
As for the attorneys who got in trouble in the 90s for drugs, one of which was a very good man and is now deceased. Lets let the dead rest in peace!

Supporter of Chip Pelley

Lawyers : 6/10/2010
I was a bank examiner for ten years. During that time I decided that the practice of law is not an honorable profession. If you would represent someone you know to be guilty, I can have no respect for you.
When our Lord came to earth the group Matthew Henry calls Jewish Doctors, teachers of the law, was one of the groups He opposed. I, of course, don't decide who goes to heaven; however, I would venture a guess this particular group would have few who faithfully accept Jesus as Lord of their lives or make any pretense of obedience in the practice of that profession.

dagwood

No respect : 6/9/2010
There would have been no justice in Grayson County. We should be happy they moved it to Collin County. Too many "friends" here in Grayson. The attornies all "have each others' backs". Don't trust a one of them....ESPECIALLY the DA.
As for Mr. Pelley...innocent until proven guilty.

just another day

Karma : 6/9/2010
I have known Chip Pelley for a long time, too, and I don't have a high opinion of him. All I will say is that karma is a bear with big nasty teeth, and sooner or later you always pay. Some people learn it the hard way.

Feeling Vindicated

Everybody take a deep breath. : 6/9/2010
It's funny to me to see everyone here jumping on each other's education or the lack thereof, and attacking each other over a case that nobody here seems to know any of the facts that have not yet become public knowledge. Even the people who are "close family friends" are misguided. Everyone wait until the facts come out, and the story WILL be quite different than what you are mindlessly arguing about. This is an emotional subject, so take a deep breath and try to have a civilized debate. By the way, notice that I did not talk about my education, or my relationship to the people involved, nor did I brag about how much I know about the law and you don't. Now, because I know what you are going to do before you do it, feel free to come back at me about how smart you are, and I am a moron.
-BM knows whats up.
-seriously - there is a difference between sex offender and pedofile, but neither one is coming near my family. So does it matter that there is a difference?
-Amazed Again - it is funny to me that the people who shout "hillbilly" at someone, usually have nothing important to say, case in point!

Golden Richards

Truly sad : 6/9/2010
This is truly sad that it is even in the papers here. How is Chip suppose to get a fair trial with everyone already saying that he is guilty? This should be heard outside of the Sherman court system so that what the DA did does make it fair to Chip and to the girl. Very sad that his family is being put thru this and the girl has gone thru this is it is true.

Sherman Resident

Grayson County "Justice" : 6/9/2010
"Innocent until proven guilty" is cornerstone of our legal system. It is particularly easy to falsely accuse someone of sexual misconduct. The sad truth is that the majority of people in this county enter into jury duty with the mindset that if a person is accused of a crime, he or she IS GUILTY AND MUST BE PROVEN INNOCENT. It is completely backwards! On three separate occasions, I knew students from Austin College who observed trials of those accused of crimes in Sherman. On a questionnaire before the trial even started, they were asked how they felt about the accused. Close to EIGHTY PERCENT of these well-educated college students felt the accused was GUILTY before hearing a shread of evidence from either side. This is what is happening in our society as the incidence of horrific crime has risen. Despite being asked if they can be "fair" in hearing the evidence, most jurors have a "hang 'em all" mentality in reaching their verdict. A "fair trial" is hard to find. Many people believe it is their civic duty to "punish" those brought to trial. They only hear the evidence that supports their foregone conclution of "guilty." I can guarantee you that if YOU or YOUR SON was accused, you would wish with all of your heart that the system functioned the was it was designed-- to protect the innocent. The "burden of proof" is supposed to be on the prosecution, not the defense.

It's True

: 6/9/2010
LN & Believing, just because you "know him well" and think he is a great guy doesn't mean he is innocent. Most everyone who commits any crime has someone who really likes them and can't believe they would do it. I have no idea whether he is innocent or guilty but I would like to know what circumstance he put himself into to be accused by a 16-year-old girl? It could be that, even if he is innocent, he made a bad decison or put himself in a bad situation that he should have stayed out of. Even if he is innocent, he was apprently alone somewhere with this girl that he maybe shouldn't have been. I doubt some girl would just randomly accuse him of this if she was nowhere around him or only around him in the presence of others. If he is innocent, I hope he walks. If not, I hope he gets what anyone else would get. If his wife left him over this (as one comment suggested) that doesn't look good. Also, Joe Brown did exactly what he should have done in referring this case to the Collin County prosecutor. That was the ONLY thing he could have ethically done. As fas as Mr. Washburn, well, what can I say.....look at the source and forget about it!

Just Wondering

This is ridiculous : 6/9/2010
Chip Pelley is a great guy. Ive known him and his brothers and their families my whole life. They are close family friends and i know Chip wouldnt do a thing such as what he is being accused of. You are making a fool of yourself you have contradicted yourself about 3 times. You know NOTHING about the law and you know NOTHING about this matter or the charges brought against Chip. You saying that lawyers get away with stuff because of them being lawyers is ridiculous. The reason lawyers can get away with stuff(not that im saying he is guilty, like i said earlier i am sure he is not) the reason is because they dont get pushed around in the court room because they know the law, something you clearly have no clue about. I guarantee you that you wouldnt confront him about this man to man because if you did you would have another thing coming. You did not witness the act of him commiting this crime therefore, you have no idea of what happened or if it is or isnt true. He could just as much be the "victim" as the culprit. You have no way of knowing if the 16 year old girl made it up. 16 year old children arent known for being a completely reliable source. GET A LIFE WAHBURN!

LN

Washburn : 6/9/2010
Washburn listen to yourself. You know about as much about the law as you do quantum physics. I looked you up and saw you had "some college" education. Stick to your poetry

RN

If he is found guilty???? : 6/8/2010
Mr. Washburn, please read your post of 6/6/2010. If you truly believe that you have not already decided Mr. Pelley is "guilty" then why do you call the 16-year old girl a "victim" three times in your post? According to you, the girl "needs help". Why would she "need help" or "be pregnant" if he is not guilty? It is clear that you have already formed an opinion just like many others who have read this article. That is a very good reason for the Special Prosecutor.

Wait for the facts!

guilty or not guilty? : 6/8/2010
Chip Pelley is a fine lawyer and upstanding citizen and i know for a fact he would never do something like this so stupid! He is very smart and is a lawyer lol and he knows the law ! So cool your heels folks he was either set up ( god knows he made enemies defending people) or she told him that she was older. So lets wait and see and i bet that he is innocent and I will be praying for him as i know he needs it! Not to say if he was guilty i would have his head as a father my self but i bet knowing him personally that he didnt do this!!!!!

Believing!!!!

hmmm : 6/8/2010
If he wasn't a attorney he would be locked up and sent through the system.

pissed off

AM : 6/8/2010
Can you read? I said "IF" he was guilty not that was guilty. I disagree with having special prosecutors do the job of the DA, that is my opinion, right or wrong it is my opinion. Disagree, do not call me uneducated, you do not know me to judge me. I may have hit some toes. Let's see how this turns out and see if I am right. Again, Mr. Pelley is innocent until proven guilty. If he is found guilty lets wait and see his punishment, then we will know if I was right or wrong.

MARK WASHBURN

Seriously!?! : 6/8/2010
Okay Washburn - If a special prosecutor is brought in this will create what we like to call a "fair" trial. If the local D.A. tries the case and Mr. Pelley is found not guilty you can almost guarantee to have the case appealed or even the possibility of a mistrial based on the fact that they know eachother well. You obviously have no common sense - do you even know what special prosecutor means? Do you even know anything about the law at all!?! For all of you who automatically assume that Mr. Pelley is guilty- Think about all the realm of possibilities in which this situation could have occurred. Could this girl have posed to be older than she is? Could she have been turned down and gotten angry and made this accusation? Could it be that someone paid this girl to make these claims against Mr. Pelley? Could he have enemies that would want to see him loose everything he's worked his entire life for? Right now, these are allegations - if there is evidentuary support it has most definately not been released to the public - therefor none of you have any right to automatically assume he is guilty just because he is an attorney. They are treated differently in trial because they stand to loose a lot! If convicted, Mr. Pelley will loose everything, but worse than that - this will be with him the rest of his life even if he's found not guilty. This will effect his business. Unfortunately even if he's found to be not guilty there will be some of you that will say its because he received "special treatment". I don't know what you find so special about having your life turned upside down. Simple fact of the matter is we are talking about a 16 year old girl - not an 8 year old girl. We're so quick to protect her when she could very well be lying. My words of advice to you all, is to consider all the possibilities in which this could have occurred. I know its easy to assume Mr. Pelley is guilty - but what if he's not, what if he's the innocent one? This could happen to anyone, so just think about what you'd want written and said about you if you were in his position.

AM

attorney : 6/8/2010
Mr.Washburn, you may be right about our DA but I think having a special prosecutor is the only right thing to do in this case.
Amazed again: If the comments are beneath (above?) your intelligence factor don't read them. After all its easy to tell you have a 6th grade education.

me

Local Attorney : 6/8/2010
When the truth comes out will it be on the front page or page 12? If the terms divorce and child custody were included in the story, as they should have been, would it change the way you feel? Hell hath no fury...

bm

: 6/8/2010
Since I popped off about spelling, I'll correct my typo in the subject line. SERIOUSLY

Still irritated with idioiots

To Mark : 6/8/2010
To Mark Washburn: Cool your jets, Mister! You are beginning to sound like a wingnut. You still co not understand the purpose of the special prosecutor and that it is a good and sound decision. A conflict of interest would be, for example, the DA is the president of a local bar association of which the defendant is a member. Duh, helloooooo. . . . . that is the most obvious among several other reasons for the case to be tried by a prosecutor with no ties.
It's not rocket science. If I was the person being prosecuted, I would want it that way, too. I know you and know you are more intelligent than this rant and rave business. Instead of preoccupying yourself by calling people out, just sit and think about it for a moment.

FLY

Sex Offender : 6/8/2010
Yes, Mark Washburn, you did say he was guilty. When taken in context, your words tell us that your simple mind is made. Why wouldn't there be a special prosecutor appointed, given the bias you and several others spew in your comments? You are the reason for the special prosecutor - because if there wasn't one, you would be complaining about that as well. How about respecting the American system of justice enough to let it take its course - which by the way, means a trial and guilty verdict before, as you say, the setting of punishment? If people such as yourselves make up the jury, I pray for that system of justice.

These People Are Nuts

idiots : 6/7/2010
The comments here are the same mispelled, low forehead
banter as always. Hillbilly insights at best! Hey
losers, wake up and realize how backwards and stupid
you really are. Attorneys and Physicians are treated
differently because they are more vulnerable to attack. Whether or not he did this act will be decided upon in due time, until then you should expect
these persons to lawyer up and certainly to secure the
best legal defense team they can. Hello.

amazed again

I missed the point? : 6/7/2010
Hey, Me, Our local DA was elected to do his job and be unbiased and not have some of those ties and enforce the law equally and fairly. What does this cost the taxpayers for a special prosecutor everytime a sherman trial lawyer gets caught violating the law? Will all our Judges run and hide behind what is proper and a special Judge have to be hired to try him? You have missed the point, ME, we are sick and tired of people above the law because of their position. WE vomit at the mention of Grayson County elitism in our judicial system. If elected officials can't do their job because of to many ties to lawyers or others then they must be voted out. By the way I said "IF" this attorney was guilty what should happen. I did not say he was guilty.

MARK WASHBURN

: 6/7/2010
and obviously not too many of u know how easy it is to file charges against someone for this. and evidently don't know that there is a huge difference between a sex offender and a pedofile.

seriously

Attorney : 6/7/2010
The matter of guilt or innocence never seems to have any barring in Grayson County. Once word leaks out the noose is set. Grayson County residents are the judge and jury. I agree, if this man is guilty, he should be punished in every way that any other sex offender is punished. But if he is not guilty of this act his name will forever be associated with a sex crime allegation. As far as a special prosecutor being appointed, it happens all the time. It isn't always for bias reasons but if Grayson County residents are worried about the "good ol boy" process, you voted them in.......next time vote them out.

Red Rover

attorney : 6/7/2010
Mr. Washburn I think you missed the point for having a "special prosecutor". As a member of our community this attorney has ties with our prosecuting attorneys and the D.A. The court appointed special prosecutors job is to see that the case is handled properly without any favors or deals from his friends and co-workers. In this case if the charge is true then I have to agree with you. He should lose his license to practice law, go to jail for whatever prison sentence the judge and jury find appropriate and register as a sex offender. After all he is an attorney and you can't make me believe he thought consensual sex with a 16 year old was legal. If you can't do the time don't do the crime...............

me

: 6/7/2010
both of you dont even know the person or if he is guilty. so before you start talking like yall know everything maybe you should wait and see if the truth comes out. what for all the evidence before you start to judge

rod

Lawyers : 6/7/2010
The attorney will come out clean as a whisle.If you remember back in the 90s there were two outstanding attornets got in trouble for drugs.They kept their and still practice law.Which i dont think was fair either.Anyone else would have been locked up and hard for them to find another job.

85EHP

Please remember : 6/7/2010
The media has not kept this quiet and the local DA has done everything he can do under the circumstances. Why is it that everytime people hear the words "sexual assault" and especially if there is a child involved, the person under investigation is automatically guilty before a date has even been set for a trial? Our freedom is not guaranteed and this could be you someday. Imagine that before you pass judgement on someone before hearing any of the facts!

Angry

sexual assault : 6/6/2010
Why is it when a local attorney or local doctor get caught having sex with children or taking porn pictures of little girls that our news media seem to want to keep the news low key. WHY? I think everyone in our town should know what the child abusers look like and need to know what they have done. They are hurting these children and all they are getting is a slap on the hand. They need to be locked up. Grayson county news reporters are really bad on not reporting sexual assault on children by our local attorneys or local doctors. Everyone our town needs to know what these men have done!!!

Sherman

If he is found guilty? : 6/6/2010
Wait and see, this local attorney will get deferred ajudication probation, a fine, community service, and because of some technicallity will not have to register as a sex offender. All the free sex people will say it was consentual, forgetting the girl was 16 and he is thirty-forty something. A local jury should hear this case and decided guilt or innocence and set punishment and the local D.A. Office should prosecute this case, but NO! attorneys are special and need special prosecutors. The special prosecutor, the attorney, in question, his attorney and a Judge will cut a deal and call it justus. If he is guilty, he shoulde get a maximum senence, lose his law license, and register as a sex offender just like any other petaphile. Pray for the victim and I hope she doesn't get pregnant. The victim is a victim not the town, well you know what I mean. Young lady hang on to your family and know there is help for you.

MARK WASHBURN

Lawyers : 6/6/2010
Lawyers, don't you just love em?

Jeronimo Joe
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