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Let's find the truth about Neil Shumate.

Original post made by Marti, another community, on Jul 3, 2011

The former children who testified in the trial of Neil Shumate are now adults. Now is the time to interview them to find out what *really* happened. Let's hear their story!

Were they coerced into making statements by overzealous investigators? Were they lead by skillful questioning to make the statements that the investigators wanted to hear?

What *really* happened? Who were the *real* victims?

We have the *right* to know.

Comments (32)

1 person likes this
Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

You have no "right to know", Marti. The Shumate case tore Pleasanton apart and pitted neighbor against neighbor, family against family. The charges were filed, the case heard, the verdict rendered and the sentence pronounced.

Why do YOU need to rehash this painful experience? The victims will spend the rest of their lives dealing with it. Who are you to demand they expose themselves to repeating the ridicule and accusations they suffered through once already? They owe you nothing, Marti.

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Posted by joanna
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The fact is, we will never really know. I don't think that there will ever be true closure about the Shumate case. The only "witnesses" were very young children; it was their word against his. There was definitely a witch-hunt kind of atmosphere present in the country at the time--remember the McMartin pre-school trial? All charges were eventually dropped in that case, but Mr. Shumate's career, reputation, and home life were destroyed when he was sent to prison. If he was indeed guilty, of course he deserved it. If he was not, it was a horrible miscarriage of justice and the people responsible must deal with their consciences. The families received substantial financial settlements from the school district. I would think that even if the children were coerced to lie or exaggerate, that they were so young at the time that their memories may be faulty by now. Or not. In any case, yes, it did tear the community apart and it should be put to rest as there will never be a way of ascertaining the truth. No way to prove his guilt or innocence one way or another.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Siena
on Jul 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

What is the Shumate case? I've never heard of it. What year was this?

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Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

Wrongfully accused people are later found innocent and released from prison regularly. There isn't any time limit for the truth, regardless of how it affects the community.

If you're questioning Marti's "right", you may have a valid point. I simply do not know. However, if she is a friend or relative of the Shumates and your concern is that it will adversely affect the community - then, that's too bad.

Personally, I felt Mr. Shumate was the victim of overzealous prosecution, and is innocent. But, not being a member of his family or a friend I certainly have no "right" to resurrect the case, even though I feel an injustice has been done.

Happy 4th of July -- "With Liberty and Justice For All"

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Siena
on Jul 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hmmm...nobody wants to answer my question. That's okay--I'll dig deeper online to see if I can find out what this case is about.

To the person above, inmates are NOT released "regularly" from prison. Yes, on rare occasion there will be a case where some type of evidence becomes available that was previously either not available or not known about. But to say that this happens regularly is absolutely not true.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

Mr. Shumate knows the truth; you wouldn't have to bother those who testified. If he is guilty, he has no incentive to tell anyone; he served his time and there has been restitution for those wronged (difficult to know if it was sufficient restitution). If he is innocent, saying so would likely fall on deaf ears. I don't see the point of rehashing this, unless Mr. Shumate does.

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm

To Joe: From my recollection, Mr. shumate was a keg teacher at Fairlands elementary school who was accused of child molestation. He was convicted and sent to prison. Not sure of the exact time frame, but it was around the mid 1990's. He has served his time and is out of prison.

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Posted by Andy
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 10, 2011 at 4:19 am


I just googled and it returned an interesting read:
Believing the Children
My reaction to the outrageous comments by supporters of former teacher and convicted child molester Neil Shumate

by Mark J. Welch

Also, from the Pleasantonweekly. sept. 11, 2008

Reason for Anger Towards Families that Reported Abuse by Former Fairlands Teacher Neil Shumate?

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Posted by Blossom
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Jul 10, 2011 at 7:20 am

Well, speaking only for myself, I like talking about the issue because it makes me feel morally superior to so many around me, and believe me, I need it. I wonder how OJ's children are doing? Over the years, they've matured and might have more to tell us now. Maybe someone should give them a call?

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

How come there is an interest in reviving this case?

Who wants to revisit the case? Mr. Shumate? His family? Friends? A private organization that represents individuals who have been convicted of a sex crime against children?

Are there individuals who are angry re: what happened to children that want to further stigmatize Mr. Shumate?

What give Marti?

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm

What gives Marti? How come you want to explore this case?

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Shumate did time...paid his debt to closed.

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Posted by Sandra
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

What concerns me about Mr Shumate is not the crimes committed (yes committed he was only "accused" until found guilty, now there can be no question)in the early 90's but those crimes that MUST have occurred before and after the very public arrest and trial. Studies show us 89% of cases of childhood sexual abuse are perpetrated by a family member or close family acquaintance, we know that Mr Shumate has at least one son who has been arrested and placed in prison on charges from misdemeanors to felonies which are classic signs of acting out in an attempt to block the pain inflicted as a child and that by nature & nurture they eventually turn into the monsters that created them, now that son could very possibly have sons of his own as well as many other nieces/nephews and family in the age range of Mr Shumate's initial targets, how many children have to be hurt before we start understanding this is a chain, a cycle, and being vilified, having your life ruined and hopefully hunted and hounded to the ends of the earth like a dog trying to escape euthanasia is worth every second if it means just one child be saved. This type of abuse is an STD and what this man did was infect children, the victims did not choose to be victims but if studies teach us anything its that some if not all will turn into the very same monsters. He is walking free these days as is every possible monster he created. To say a Child Molester payed his debt is like saying a murderer did, there is no taking back or repaying what was done, innocence lost is like life lost. Its gone forever.

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Posted by Former Fairlands Flyer
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I know what he did, I was affected by what he did, I am still affected by what he did. He made us dress and undress for him. He would stand above the stalls and watch us in the bathrooms. He would keep dressing and undressing us after we used the restroom in the classroom.

He would take two children out into the hall and make them undress and then put on costumes - so that we could learn letters. He would take us in the hall, remove our clothes, touch us, and make us dress up. I remember the girl I had gone to change with was not fast enough to crawl under desks out in the hall and hide while she was changing. I remember he took her to a different location to change. I remember how she cried when he brought her back. I remember her crying while she had to sing her song about being annie the astronaut. I remember she never came back to class. I remember him taking me out to change and making me change in the children's stall in the classroom.

I remember him forcing me to undres while he watched me. I remember him forcing me to take off my overalls. I remember him touching me. I remember him doing things to me. Things that I was too young to understand why. I remember him doing things to me because I was something new to him. I know it happened multiple times. I remember not being able to use the restrooms at the school and living with those consequences. I remember him staring at me, with cold determination.

I remember his stare, I remember his hands touching me, how rough they were. I remember him touching me with those rough hands. I remember he would wait until the children were at play or asleep. I remember him choosing children.

I remember his birthday rituals, if it was your birthday you had to sit on his lap while a hard freeze-dried cake was brought out candles lit. We all had to sing. I remember the lights going out, I remember the sound of children drying and seeing the child on his lap grabbing their groin and sobbing uncontrollably when the lights came back on.

I remember, most of all, how commonplace these things were. How we lived in fear of him. How he would give 'time outs' to kids. How a time out meant we were going to be touched.

Marti, I was there I was molested, I am an adult, my parents never knew about the assaults. I never went to the police - because I didn't remember until a few weeks ago. I went to a store, picked up a pair of overalls I saw the color of the button, the denim and I remembered his hands on me while I was struggling to get my clothes on while he was there touching me. I remembered it all. That man molested me and many other children. Children who refuse to come forward, or have repressed memories like I have. I will not be silent. I want justice for what happened to me.

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Posted by Sad
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Former Fairlands Flyer - I am so sorry for you having to remember these awful things. I was friends with one of his daughters. We were in middle school when all of this came out. She disappeared from school one day and I never saw her again. I hope you find a way to deal with the things that happened and can move on. I hope all his victims went on to live good lives. I hope his children are ok.

Marti, I don't really get why you felt the need to post this... Hope fff satisfied your curiosity.

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Posted by Hoffman
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Former Fairlands Flyer:

No justice for you. Statute of limitations has long passed.

I will say that your story says nothing of molestation. Just a kindergarten teacher who had costumes that we all wore, who kept an eye on you.

I remember those bathrooms in the classroom. And I remember how many times Neil had to help wipe kids behinds, help them button overalls, etc. I think your shrink has uncovered deeper issues of yours...As we both know Neil never touched you...the parents and volunteers were always in his classroom and would have intervened.

I remember getting paddled at that was the 80's and still allowed as a means of punishment. But, I earned my paddling...and it's not abuse or molestation.

That man was amazing. Stop perpetuating the lies and get a better shrink.

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Posted by ForTheChildren
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2013 at 1:45 am

Hey Hoffman: I think YOU are the one who needs to get yourself a are obviously a closet Pedo(& a lover of child touchers). If NOT: You obviously have your head stuck stuck in your own anus. How dare you insult a sex crime victim like that. You are heartless. I would call you SO MUCH more, but I don't want my comment deleted(ONLY thing holding me back).
As for YOU, Neil Shumate, IF you are reading this: You KNOW you are guilty(just as much as "I" do). God sees everything & you thought prison was bad: Wait until you die: Things will get MUCH worse for you. And it won't be long from now, considering you are already an old man.... You sick/twisted, depraved pedophile. I hope whatever comes NEXT for you, makes the TV show "Dexter" seem tame. You are a Cockroach stuck to the bottom of my shoe in the afterlife. I hope you forever suffer the way you have made all your child victims suffer.....& for all the hate, negativity & ugliness you help spread in this existence of ours. I wish you, as well as ALL your advocates NOTHING but the worst.

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Posted by Hoffman
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm


First, to address your slanderous statements. I am a Father, and I completely understand the fear parents have of this type of thing happening to their children. And, any person who is guilty of actually commiting a child sex crime deserves the punishment they receive. That is simply not the case here, as Neil was wrongfuly convicted.

Second, Who the hell are you to accuse someone of being a closeted pedophile? Do you see me hiding behind a veil of secrecy. I am a rpdocut of Pleasanton Schools. I attended Fairlands, I attended Harvest Park, and I attended Amador Valley. I was around Neil Shumate for a number of years, and I cry at the injustice perpeduated against him. Like the Martin case, this was a witch-hunt in a community that is plagued with desperate housewives, and people looking for a quick payout.

Am I insensitive to this "alleged victim"...YES, Yes I am. Because I know the truth, and the personal character of the people (and parents) who pointed fingers.

There were two African Amrican girls who claimed Neil was inapproproate with them during a week long science camp trip. These girls were unruly, rude, and even now have severe drug and alcohol problems that started way back then. Not to mention the drug dealing that was going on in their households (one of their brothers was guned down in a drug related revenge killing). These girls were disruptive, in your face, going to fip the bird to all authority types. These girls were so bad, that people did not want to volunteer for the weeklong trip. So, as a favor, Mr. Shumate went. Mr Shumate had no choice but to discipline these unruly girls, and that what started all the accusations and BS lies, so these girls didnt get expelled. First they tried to cry racism, and when that didnt stick...they went after this angle.

I'm not hiding, and I refuse to be a coward and call people names. I will only use facts.

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Posted by Alisal Alum
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I was in his class in 2nd grade at Alisal, and saw nothing even close to what FFF describes. There were no "lights-out" birthday parties, no crying kids, no peeping at kids putting on costumes.

Maybe this happened.

Or more likely not.

(or maybe FFF is just a troll -- the language used in the original post seems designed to stir the pot)

For someone to go from absolute zero to about a thousand miles per hour in the creepy department, over the span of a couple years, rings hollow. A more likely explanation is that a group of kids, coached/coaxed by prosecutors, in an eagerness to please, absorbed and agreed on a story that had some kernel of truth (he hugged kids, he had a real affinity for them, etc.) that allowed it to be conflated into something patently false.

He went to trial because he was confident that the truth would bear out and his name would be cleared. Chalk that up to a combination of naivety and religious faith on his part. He had a plea offer by which he could have avoided jail time, but wouldn't take it.

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Posted by Jury found him guilty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

To blame Shumate's legal problems on two 'unruly' African Americans is absolutely ridiculous.

Shumate's appeal was denied - Web Link

He is a convicted child molester.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

If he has enuf $$$$$$$$ to file another appeal, then he can it. If not, he can explore alternative options. They are available.

This matter may be temporarily resolved.

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Posted by Nancy
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

I knew this freak. He was my seminary teacher when I was like 16. He never tried anything with me, but there was just something not right about him. He probably didn't try anything, because we were all older kids and he couldn't have gotten away with it as easy as with little kindergarten kids. He was a very weird guy and he hid behind being Mormon. I remember some big wig at the church standing up and praying that his innocence would be found. My family was appalled. You pray for the truth not his innocence. He was a freak and he was found guilty . My heart breaks for the victims that will suffer for the rest of their lives. A lot of Mormons will stand by him forever, but they can float down the river of denial with him, but he was a freak and he was convicted and one day will have to answer to God for what he did.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Children, families, and communities are traumatized by child sexual abuse. Whenever the topic surfaces, it triggers past events/memories in survivors/communities. The harm to everybody does not heal so quickly and takes years to work through. The memories of such horrific events remain for a lifetime.

Yesterday, the United Nations questioned representatives from the Vatican in Geneva, Switzerland re: Catholic clergy sexual abuse of children. It's a horrific story and the rape of innocent children and vulnerable will never end. The leadership of the RCC remains unwilling and unable to manage its priests/nuns who sexually abuse/harm children and vulnerable adults.

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Posted by Ex-Pleasanton student
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I had Mr Shumate for a teacher in kindergarten, and my brother had him 2 years later (this was in the mid-70's). I loved him and don't remember anything inappropriate happening. I do remember the birthday choices, and it did not include sitting on his lap. You could go outside or sit on top of the piano while the class sang Happy Birthday to you. I was shy and he helped me make friends with the other kids. He definitely loved children but not in a wrong way. I realize people "see" things differently and, while I do believe he was innocent, I know there are those who "really believe" or "just want to believe" he is guilty. I have to say, Former Fairlands Flyer and Hoffman probably don't know anything about Mr Shumate and are just trying to cause problems. It's always those who are rudest and the most obnoxious who are trying to get attention or start problems. Otherwise there is just no reason for that kind of post.

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Posted by Kool-Aid
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Aug 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Drinking the teacher union Kool-Aid again? Perhaps Janice Clark, Pleasanton Teacher's Association president should work to re-instate all of the Pleasanton teachers that have been convicted of child molestation. Why not start with Harvest Park Middle School teacher Stephen Briggs Web Link and Neil Shumate right away?

Obviously, the teacher's union has 100% crime-free teachers and there was a right wing conspiracy consisting of the police department, the DA's office, and the jury to reach a conviction.

Ex-Pleasanton student, why don't you show up at the next school board meeting and ask that they both be re-hired?

Good luck.

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Posted by No Kool Aide - Thanks
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:08 am

Ms. Kool-Aide - aka Ms. Troll

Stirring up old news on the blog for the upcoming election? Yes these were horrible incidents but they happened in 1994 & 2003. I don't understand the connection to the teachers union. They never supported either one. Both men were given due process guaranteed under our Constitution and were either convicted or pleaded guilty. Both lost the teaching credentials.

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Posted by Kool-Aid
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Aug 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Ex-Pleasanton student from Alisal who posted August 23, 2014, why do you continue to say about Neil Shumate, Vice President of the Pleasanton Teacher's Association (teachers union) "I loved him" and say "He definitely loved children but not in a wrong way."

You sound like a teacher's union operative, you know the ones that worked on the campaign to harass and shun the city's police chief at the time (Bill Eastman), the teacher and children that reported him Web Link or one of Shumate's relatives.

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Posted by No Kool Aide - Thanks
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

Trolling for Trolls Kool Aide?

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Posted by Former student of Shumate
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I will say that I am 34 years old now. Mr. Shumate was my kindergarten teacher in the 80's. I really liked him as a teacher. I always sat next to him every day when I came to class. I never stopped wearing dresses when I went to his class. He was a little odd. I located a picture of him awhile back dressing up for Halloween with a set of PJs with red lips kissed all over his clothes. I thought that was weird.

I am thankful while I was in His class nothing happened to me. Not trying to say that what everyone else is saying happened didn't happen. I am sorry if it did happen to you. I have known other people who have had things happen to them with people that they trusted. I didn't know it was going on until I read the paper reading that Mr. Shumate was arrested and the same for my friends also. I read in the paper that there parents were arrested for molesting there children. Sometimes you do not know who you can trust. Sometimes you have to trust the kids and what they are saying at face value and not discount what they are saying.

I had a relative try to kiss me. You would think this is innocent and know reason to bring attention to it. Of course his family backed him and not what I said but my mom believed me. My mom confronted him that day. It may have been innocent but it made me uncomfortable. When my mom said something his wife said "so you are doing it again." What a weird reaction for someone to say.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows

on Mar 29, 2015 at 10:42 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 30, 2015 at 11:02 am

Why is this even a topic for today? We're talking about events from 20 years ago. Is there nothing more recent to discuss?

2 people like this
Posted by Ha!
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm

^Says the one who commented and bumped it back to the top.

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