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.
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.
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.