Judge calls USD 232 school board candidate ‘not credible,’ raises questions about residency in court case

Judge calls USD 232 school board candidate ‘not credible,’ raises questions about residency in court case

Why am I observing this tale? The Shawnee Mission Publish believes it is the occupation of a community news group to aid voters make informed alternatives about who will be symbolizing them on area govt bodies.


School board customers oversee the schooling of thousands of youngsters in USD 232. For that rationale, we believe numerous voters would want to be conscious of Crystal Duke’s loss of custody of her daughter and to hear her explanation for what led to the judge’s ruling. The Post also is calling notice to troubles of reliability lifted by the decide due to the fact reliability and trustworthiness are normally main variables for voters when considering who to select.


The Publish asked Duke to answer to these issues in order to far better realize her marketing campaign for Faculty District Member 4. We are deciding upon not to consist of a duplicate of the judge’s ruling in get to shield the privateness of other events included.

The final result of a court docket circumstance in Missouri this summer season has elevated issues about a USD 232 college board candidate’s reliability as well as the depth of her ties to the De Soto community she’s managing to represent.

In July, choose Jason M. Howell dominated towards Crystal Duke in a custody situation involving her organic daughter, awarding whole custody to the girl’s father, Duke’s ex-husband.

In his ruling, Howell characterised Duke’s answers to the court’s thoughts about her dwelling problem in Johnson County and latest marital status with a new lover as “unintelligible” and wrote that Duke was “not credible.”

“[The] court does not make these types of a daring declaration with out huge evidentiary assist,” Howell wrote.

Issues about believability

In court docket testimony in December, Duke indicated that she had gotten remarried in November 2020 and set up residency with her new partner in De Soto at that time.

She later acknowledged to the court that she and her partner experienced not gotten married in a traditional feeling but had held a “celebration of appreciate ceremony” in early November.

In an interview with the Shawnee Mission Article this thirty day period, Duke said she and her associate are now considered lawfully married beneath Kansas regulation, which validates popular regulation marriage.

Kansas is a person of a handful of states to identify these types of common law marriages, which allow two consenting older people to be legally married simply just by declaring as this sort of. No license or minimal period of time of cohabitation are necessary.

In addition to the challenges with her account of her marital standing and residency, Howell, a previous prosecutor appointed to the Cass County Circuit Court bench in 2018 by previous Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, raised other problems in ruling versus Duke.

Howell deemed Duke’s numerous allegations of abuse created through court docket testimony towards her ex-partner to be “uncorroborated by any credible evidence” and that her daughter’s counselor “contradicts the Mother’s allegations.”

The view also notes the perseverance created by two courtroom-appointed authorities that Duke’s “diagnosed personality problem has built efficient co-parenting tough.”

In an job interview with the Publish, Duke mentioned her latest reduction of custody of her daughter ought to have no affect on voters’ assessment of her as a viable candidate in De Soto.

“Should it influence my candidacy? No. Could it? Sure,” Duke reported. “There has been a good deal of fraud in that [custody] circumstance, and we are in the procedure of taking down spouse and children court docket corruption, so on my component, it is nothing that I’ve individually finished. I have not performed nearly anything. I’m really a target in this, and so is my daughter. It’s a incredibly unfortunate tale, and we are just in the system that…wrongs are created proper.”

Duke reported pro bono counseling work she has finished speaks for itself, as nicely as those people who know her and have aided her along the way.

In addition, Duke cited certifications she has acquired as a result of the Gottman Institute, a relationship counseling and remedy software, and operate she has finished in the direction of attaining one more certification via Kansas Town-based Calvary University, previously Calvary Bible College, for counseling mental wellbeing.

She said she also provides professional bono mental overall health counseling for men and women who are not able to afford it.

“I’m incredibly passionate about youth and have been since college or university, and I also imagine that if people today do their because of diligence and analysis to see that there is household court docket corruption, I believe that mitigates any concerns about me in that location,” Duke additional. “And I assume from there, persons can achieve out on their very own and converse to me individually. I’m happy to get to know men and women in the neighborhood and start off setting up some bonds with the mothers and fathers in the group.”

Relationship to USD 232

Duke’s marketing campaign website suggests she and her spouse dwell in De Soto “with their 5 small children. All five of her young children attended USD 232, three have graduated and two of them are presently enrolled.”

Duke acknowledged that four of the children she references on the website are stepchildren from her prevalent-regulation marriage with her new spouse. Duke reported the fifth child dwelling with the few is legally an grownup, but another person who has been below Duke’s care.

Duke also said her associations with her new spouse and children in De Soto have deepened her expenditure in the district and spurred her bid for school board.

She claimed she helped her new partner and stepchildren navigate the last faculty calendar year and all of its unique challenges, specially with modifying studying environments, COVID-19 protocols and quarantines.

“That really arrived into engage in all through shutdown as I recognized the youngsters, not just in our home but in other homes as very well, ended up incredibly, really a lot having difficulties just with the entire enchilada,” Duke said. “So my vested fascination is that the young children are heading to have a superior calendar year and that boundaries and items of that mother nature are likely to be dealt with additional eloquently for our young children.”

A verify of home information reveals that the handle Duke says she has resided at due to the fact previous 12 months is in just the boundaries of the Member 4 seat on the De Soto school board she is seeking.

Johnson County election officials verified there is no size of residency requirement for university board candidates, but they ought to be registered to vote in the jurisdiction for which they are trying to get place of work.

A verify of voter registration records conducted by the Publish did show that Duke is registered to vote at the De Soto tackle she has resided at given that 2020.

Campaign for mental health and fitness and freedom of alternative

Duke reported she supports the liberty of preference for mothers and fathers and families on whether or not their kids need to have on a mask at college. File picture.

Duke bases much of her marketing campaign on what she phone calls “freedom of choice” for parents, notably in the space of wellbeing conclusions for their kids and the decision to use masks at college. Currently, USD 232 involves common masking in its facilities.

“I never agree with mandating health points when I’m not a well being care skilled,” Duke told the Write-up. “That’s just not what we’re right here for.”

If elected, she suggests she would also like to emphasis on “empowering moms and dads and people to make informed decisions” and to preserve that ability with families.

She is opposed to districtwide mask mandates since she believes it’s “a negative boundary” for the district to cross.

“The school board are not health and fitness treatment pros, and I consider that is why we’re possessing an all-out war: Due to the fact we’ve breached a little something that was hardly ever intended to be on the plate as a university board selection,” Duke stated.

Editor Kyle Palmer contributed to this report.

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