McCallie Coach From 90s Who Is Now Deceased Is Accused Of Abusing Students

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Steven Lee Carpenter
Steven Lee Carpenter

A McCallie School coach from the 1990s who is now deceased is being accused of abusing students at the private prep school.

Two former students said Steven Lee "Steve" Carpenter sexually abused them.

Carpenter was the basketball coach at McCallie for 11 seasons - through 1999. He was boys basketball coach at Ridgeland High School beginning in 2000.

Carpenter was arrested in Dalton, Ga., on July 22, 2001, after reportedly striking a Whitfield County police officer during a concert. Carpenter was attending an Everclear concert at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center and was extremely intoxicated, according to police. He did not return the next year as the Ridgeland coach.

A native Texan, Carpenter attended school in Fort Worth until moving to Graham, Tx., in 1965. The family moved to Columbia, Tn., in 1968 where he graduated from Columbia High School.

He was baptized by minister John Vaughn at Greymere Church of Christ in Columbia. The church sponsored his education at Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Tn., for three years, and David Lipscomb College in Nashville, where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts and masters degree.

McCallie was the fourth school at which he taught and coached.

At the time he left McCallie, Athletic Director Bill Cherry said, "We deeply appreciate Coach Carpenter’s contribution to the athletic program. He is a dedicated coach and has worked hard to raise McCallie basketball to a new level. His teams always play hard and have been fundamentally sound."

Carpenter said at the time, "My time at McCallie has been great both personally and professionally. But I think it is best for my long-term career objectives to leave at the end of this year. I will miss McCallie, and especially the outstanding young men I have had the opportunity to coach. I am proud of them and of their accomplishments."

Carpenter’s McCallie teams compiled a 145-135 record, including two regional championships. The 1993-94 team won 20 games to make it to the sub-state tournament round. The 1994-95 team also won 20 games.

In addition to coaching basketball, Carpenter served as an English teacher and as a dormitory assistant at McCallie.

Carpenter was living at Charles Town, WV, when he died in 2016 at the age of 60. 

His obituary says, "As a servant of God, youth minister, coach, and teacher, his life was dedicated to helping children. He served as youth minister in Churches of Christ in Stiversville, Tn., Evansville, Ind., and under Rubel Shelly at Ashwood Church of Christ in Nashville. While ministering at Ashwood, he decided more children could be reached as a coach and teacher. Having made that decision, the remainder of his life was dedicated to teaching, encouraging, and helping children reach a higher standard of life and accomplishment than they could never even imagine was possible for them to achieve. Steven believed a child must be reached before life's demons crushed his dreams."

Headmaster Lee Burns sent this statement:

Dear McCallie Community,
 
We are writing today about an unsettling situation that we feel is important to share directly with you. McCallie’s administration has received allegations from two former students that, during their time here in the 1990s, a former faculty member, Steve Carpenter, sexually abused them. Mr. Carpenter was employed by McCallie from 1989 to 2000 and is now deceased.
 
Since becoming aware of these allegations, McCallie’s administration and Board of Trustees have engaged in an effort to understand the facts of the situation. We have engaged Fisher and Phillips, LLP, nationally recognized experts, to represent us in this matter and to conduct a full review of Mr. Carpenter’s time at McCallie.
 
We invite anyone who may have been sexually abused by Mr. Carpenter or by any McCallie faculty or staff – as well as anyone who has information regarding such abuse – to come forward.  The investigation is being led by Suzanne Bogdan, who can be reached directly at 954-847-4729 or by e-mail at suzannebogdan@fisherphillips.com. If you prefer, you can reach out to Thomas Hayes, McCallie’s general counsel, at 423-493-5602 or  thayes@mccallie.org
 
The health, safety, and well-being of our students is our first priority as a school. Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable. It is at odds with our values as a school and with the entire profession of education.
 
We remain committed to ensuring that our campus is a safe place for boys to live and learn, and we have developed policies and practices that we believe protect our students. To continue to ensure that McCallie is doing everything possible to keep our students safe, we are conducting a comprehensive review of our policies and practices, as well as our professional training for faculty and staff. This includes continuing to respect appropriate boundaries among faculty and staff and students, understanding the duty to report, and being aware of sexual abuse in all of its forms. 
 
While we know that the weeks ahead will be challenging for our community, it is important to go through this process together for the benefit of our past, current, and future students. For more than a century, McCallie has placed a priority on living our values of honor, truth, and duty in a way that glorifies God. We are grateful for the support and trust shown to us by our thousands of alumni, parents, and friends of the school.
 


Schools Featured In New Book Chattanooga In Old Photos

PHOTOS: Christmas At The Chattanooga Choo Choo

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report


Chattanooga schools are featured in the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. There are scenes of McCallie School in 1910 as well as the 1927 football squad. The ... (click for more)

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABRAM, CORY 4613 OAKWOOD DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga NONSUPPORT ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Schools Featured In New Book Chattanooga In Old Photos

Chattanooga schools are featured in the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. There are scenes of McCallie School in 1910 as well as the 1927 football squad. The Baylor School quadrangle and campus by the river are also included. Other old photos are of Bright School, the old Chattanooga High, Clifton Hills Elementary, Eastside Elementary, Highland ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Christmas At The Chattanooga Choo Choo

Opinion

Bill Bennett Was One Of The Best Gentlemen In Politics - And Response (3)

In an era of political haughtiness and ego, we should recognize the life example of public service demonstrated by Hamilton County Assessor Bill Bennett. As I told my friend Bill many times, he and former Governor Winfield Dunn were the best “gentlemen” I knew in politics. He was kind, humble and honest. To honor his legacy, we should all try to carry ourselves a little more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All right, this one is on me. I knew what I wanted to suggest in this week’s Saturday Funnies and about mid-afternoon yesterday I crafted a story I think a lot of people will like. As soon as I was done, I put the story “in the can,” which is to say I saved it, and then caught up on my phone messages and chores. A couple of hours later I went to retrieve the story and – zip! nada! ... (click for more)

Sports

Tim Ensign Wins Wauhatchie Trail Run For 11th Time

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Tim Ensign isn’t a competitive person. Last year the veteran runner got beat at the Wauhatchie Trail Run in the final stretch by Rodney Stoker and Ensign has never forgotten it. The former UTC standout got his revenge on Saturday as he became an 11-time winner after covering the hilly and challenging 6.7-mile trail run on the side of Lookout ... (click for more)

Fast Start Lifts CCS Past Silverdale

Chattanooga Christian basketball coach Eddie Salter is always happy when his Chargers win a big district game, but he wasn’t the happiest guy in the gym at Silverdale Friday night. He liked what he saw as the Chargers played really inspired basketball in the first half as they built a 37-14 lead, but the second half wasn’t so pleasing to the veteran coach as his team got complacent ... (click for more)