It’s All About Intent: Throwing stones is important to a civil society, so is living without sin as much as possible

After years of covering these public education issues, I arrived at my saturation point long ago. I like to think about positive things, and government schools do very little that is good in the world. If you are a person who still thinks there is some benefit to them, you likely need to redefine what you consider good. And that has certainly been my thought about this latest issue in Lakota schools, the district where I live, where the superintendent has gotten himself into all kinds of trouble due to a failed marriage that has certainly leaked out of the bedroom and into his very public position as a school superintendent. I have wanted to be wrong about him and the case in general. There are lots of people who are concerned about the case, who have kids going to the school, and due to the nature of the accusations that were mentioned against Matt Miller, the person who identified himself as a public figure on his Facebook page, he has brought the taxpayers quite a list of problems that he could have easily have avoided if only he took more caution in his personal affairs. The result has been a disgusting exhibition of bad judgment and reckless disregard for basic decency. Unfortunately, the police report is in, and it didn’t say that the evidence that told this horrible story wasn’t discredited. The sexual deviancy was true. But at this time, they didn’t have enough evidence to move forward with the criminal part of the story, which is what has concerned me the most.

The trouble I have with it all is that if the evidence hasn’t been discredited from its source, in this case, an ex-wife, then that means it could be corresponded with cell phone data that the cell phone carrier could provide, and at this point, there is very little will to perform that task. Based on what I know of the case after talking to lawyers, police officials, and several politicians, the reason is that this has major political ramifications that would be too much for everyone involved. Nobody wants to subject themselves to that level of pain. I would add that all this evidence is available upon a document request, including the text messages. At this time, to get that evidence, I would refer you to inquire about it through the official channels of the Lakota school board. There is a meeting on 9.12.22 where these questions could be asked, and I’d suggest that be the place to get answers to your questions. The media knows all about this story and have been sitting on it for many of the same reasons described. The school board has been waiting for this police report, and now they have it. So using the official channels of communication is the way to perform these inquiries. 

What bothers me most about this case is the behavior of the surrounding cast of characters. I always think more information is better than not having enough. But I asked a school board member three years ago specifically about Matt Miller’s sexual relationships because I had noticed a change in him over time. He had looked a lot more disheveled in recent years, to the point where when I shook his hand in public events, he was noticeably different. So I asked about it because there was a lot about him to be suspicious about regarding his personal behavior, outside of the role he performed for the school as a superintendent. And yes, it’s the public business when taxpayers pay him $200K per year. A public role expects that he will maintain a positive public profile, and he clearly was showing signs of something going wrong in his life. I thought it might be sexual in nature or maybe substance abuse. Things happen to people, but I remember specifically asking about it because it was a noticeable change. Now that I have seen the contents of the divorce records, the Craigslist ads, and the revelations of pillow talk between him and his wife at the time, it all makes sense. And I hate to say it, but I was very right about it. 

Knowing all this about himself, it is bewildering why he went after the new school board member Darbi Boddy the way he did because the hypocrisy of it is what provoked his ex-wife to go public with the contents of their divorce. She saw a pattern of behavior that reminded her of their marriage, and she thought it was unfair treatment toward Darbi. Darbi didn’t seek out the information; the information came out as a result of Matt Miller going after Darbi Boddy over the trespass charge he leveled against her. It bothered the ex-wife, so she sought out people who would tell her story. When I saw the contents of this information, I thought it was on the serious side and that the police needed to be involved, and that is how things have arrived where they are now. Now that the police have done their work, up to the current status, my hopes of all this being just political or inflammatory have been abandoned. So for all those who wanted to believe that it’s all hearsay, out of convenience for what the school system does for the community, or to protect whatever perceived value there was in it, the facts are the facts. They are available as public documents, and you can see them for yourself. There has already been a lot talked about it on social media. Much of the worst of it has been discussed on Facebook. It bothers me so much that I am simply telling people to get that information from the school board. The superintendent is their employee, and he’s their problem. They had an opportunity to get rid of him a few years ago when they obviously knew a lot of this bad behavior but determined that he could still perform his job in a public capacity. Yet that turned out not to be the case because if these kinds of things are out there, it limits his ability to manage anything because the ghosts come out of the closet when provoked. 

The behavior of so many people has been disappointing; in many cases, people I know and have known well. This problem occurs when compromised people have to pass moral judgments. I would say that this is why it’s good to live a clean life. Because morally, you may be called upon to make decisions that either make society better or worse. And if you get caught trying to explain away bad behavior because you are also guilty of the same kind of stuff, then you will not be able to call balls and strikes when it’s required of you. Even if you want to participate in “adult” behavior, you probably shouldn’t because when the time comes like this and moral opinions are essential to protecting children and taxpayer dollars; you won’t be so equipped. And that is obviously part of the anger at new school board members like Darbi Boddy and others who the ex-wife sought out to tell her story due to the public spectacle the superintendent blew out of proportion for purely political reasons. The political opponents to the board, the Tea Party conservatives, and the Holy Rollers of evangelical sentiment are throwing stones because they are not sinning. When the assumption is that nobody should pass judgment if they are not without sin, well, not everyone is doing the kinds of things that Matt Miller and his wife were up to sexually. And when it comes to sexual addiction or lifestyles that have an unhealthy relationship to sex, it’s a bottomless pit where fantasies migrate over into the intent to do something terrible outside the bedroom. And in many legal circumstances, not those as politically charged as this case, “intent” is all that is required. 

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business