Friday, March 20, 2009

Teacher Lou Ann Hogan and Student Chad Cadenhead

By Traciy Curry-Reyes
On March 10, 1988, high school teacher Lou Ann Hogan was fired after having been accused of having sex with her 17 year old student Chad Cadenhead, who ended up committing suicide. The 24 year old Hogan denied the accusations. Mrs. Hogan was known as a good teacher who got a long very well with her students. Some school officials felt that she was a little too comfortable and open with her students. Trouble started for the pretty English and Spanish teacher after 4 students reported to school authorities that they had witnessed sex between Hogan and their friend Chad. Here is how the event unfolded.

Chad had been telling people that he was sleeping with teacher Lou Ann Hogan. The students did not believe him, so on one occasion; he invited them to his home so that they could see for themselves. According to court testimony Taylor Sommer and Scott Autry were spending the night at Chad’s home when the teacher called and said that she was on her way over. The boys sneaked out of the house and watched Chad and Mrs. Hogan having sex from Chad’s bedroom window. The boys had very little to do with Chad after the event. On January 28, 1988, the 17 year old emotionally disturbed Cadenhead went to his bedroom, put a shotgun in his mouth, and shot himself to death several days after his birthday. Shortly afterward, Taylor Sommer’s sister advised him to tell their parents about what he witnessed between Chad and Mrs. Hogan. The Sommers then contacted the Cadenheads, who told school authorities, and Mrs. Hogan was suspended in February of 1988 and then fired the following month. Hogan decided to sue both school officials and the 4 boys. Taylor Sommer, Scott Autry, Jeff Beckel, and Hector Torres, were named in the $400,000 suit.

The Trial

Lou Ann Hogan was indicted for having sex with a minor. She turned herself into the Bexar County Jail accompanied by her Husband and mother in law. She was booked and released on $10,000 bond. Trial began September 28, 1988, and the District Attorney set out to prove that Hogan had “initiated and went into a sexual relationship with a minor.” Lou Ann pleaded innocent. The defense tried to show that trouble started after Chad’s suicide because everyone was looking for “someone to blame.” Everyone was trying to think of one reason why he would want to kill himself, and so the boys decided to tell what Chad had told them. This case was huge. The courtroom was packed. Spectators had to be turned away. Mrs. Cadenhead testified that she had no idea who Lou Ann was when she saw her at the wake. She said that at first she thought she was one of the students, and asked her if she had any classes with Chad. That is when Lou Ann indicated that she was actually a teacher. Greg Trcka testified that he had witnessed Mrs. Hogan go into Chad’s room while everyone was at the house to console the family. A Clark High Spanish teacher, Martha Garcia, testified that she too saw Hogan go into Chad’s bedroom, and that she had also witnessed her crying in the teacher’s lounge after Chad’s death. Another teacher testified that she saw Lou Ann hug and kiss a student under the bleachers at one of the football games. She confronted Lou Ann about it, and said that Lou Ann said “oh, we’re just good friends, and that they go out together sometimes.” Hector Torres testified how he remembered seeing Hogan’s car parked outside Chad’s home. Mrs. Hogan stated that the sexual accusations were totally false, and her husband testified that Lou Ann was home on the nights in question. Hogan testified that she remembered meeting Chad one day during her first semester in the 1986-1987 school year when he passed by her classroom with one of her students. Afterward, Cadenhead would frequently stop by and talk to her. The visits continued until Chad was checked into the Afton Oaks Psychiatric Hospital. When he was released he made contact with her again stating that he wanted to talk to her about family problems. The jury deliberated and returned with a verdict of innocent in October 1989. Mr. Mike Hogan was in tears, and the Cadenheads were silent after the verdict was read. The Cadenheads filed a civil suit against Hogan and the school, but later dropped it. Lou Ann and her husband live in Schenectady, New York. School Superintendent Jack C.Jordan still firmly believes the story of the 4 boys even though the jury did not. The Cadenheads dropped the suit on February 11, 1990.

Extra Tidbits
Chad was not the only boy who committed suicide. According to classmates, there was another student named Randy Browder who killed himself not long after Chad. There is a lot of info in the comments by students who went to the school at the time.


  1. I heard that the boys who testified at the trial spent 30 days in prison for perjury. Can anyone confirm that?

  2. I don't think that's true. The Hogans live in Austin, Texas now.

  3. They did not spend any time in jail for perjury. One went on to be a dentist, another a lawyer. All of them are upstanding citizens. What they said was completely true. There was a question to whether Chad was murdered or committed suicide. I hope the case is re-visited.

  4. The trial showed that the boys made it up one night while drinking at a place called the fat farm. They were not lawyers and dentists at the time. There was a question in their minds about murder as they did not believe it was suicide. A student named Kate Thornton told the Hogans about the story and another boy confirmed it to the Hogans. Others were at the Hogans home to witness calls about the lie. The defense attorney was told so he was prepared to prove they were lying. None of their stories matched because the defense attorney made sure that the boys could not talk to each other in between the questioning. Mrs Hogan was only guilty of being too nice and befriending her students when she should have kept them at a distance.

  5. Then why did Kate Thornton testify against her at the trial? I don't know if Mrs. Hogan was guilty or not but the way she acted and dressed at school made her seem very guilty. I was a student in her class the year before this happened. She would openly flirt - not befriend, flirt - with the boys and make jokes about how she was going to attend parties with them. What kind of teacher does that?

    1. Wasn't Kate Thornton's Dad the mayor at the time? I'm sure this kid was convinced by her friends that Mrs. Hogan was guilty. I hear that Kate had a serious dark side. No parent would let their child defend a teacher from class. I also heard that Mrs. Hogan had recordings of lots of these kids that showed they were lying. It's a sad situation all the way around.

  6. It is not a crime to flirt. When teachers are too young, they don't know how to deal with attention. It's not a crime to dress youthful or wear high heels. The jury chose not to believe the students and we should respect that decision. There was no crime.

  7. Be careful with the facts. The accusers paid Mrs Hogan millions of dollars after it was proved in court that the fantasy of the dead kid was bs. The movie was part of the settlement to clear her name. That is why the accusers are portrayed as they were. They signed a release to allow the, to be trashed.

  8. It is funny how this coming up again 20 years later. Russell Grigsby and his attorney John Stratton will do anything to harm Mr and Mrs Hogan.