Days after prosecutors dismissed a felony case against a Colleyville woman, her apparent attempt to "fake" an apology letter to her victim has brought new life to the situation.
The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office confirmed it is reexamining a case it dismissed last week against 43-year-old Tara Mauney, the mom accused of helping a group of middle school students vandalize her neighbor's property.
Mauney was ordered to pay $1,900 in restitution and write an apology letter to the owner of the home which was reportedly defaced with toilet paper, food and markers in July 2012 as part of a prank.
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The victim in the case asked that the charge be dismissed in an effort to spare the children from having to testify at trial about what happened that night in the 4600 block of Alexandria Drive.
"It was never [the homeowner's] goal to make her neighbor a convicted felon for this immature incident," Tarrant County prosecutor Mark Thielman said in a written statement last Thursday, Aug. 7.
On Monday, that same prosecutor updated the case file with a "Notice of Filing to Make the Record Speak the Truth," an effort to ensure that the public record is clear in the manner, according to a district attorney's office spokesperson.
The apology letter from Mauney to the victim was initially kept out of the public record at the request of the parties involved, according to Melody McDonald Lanier of the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.
But on the same day the case was dismissed, Mauney posted a purported copy of the apology letter to her personal Facebook page, along with an official statement on behalf of the Mauney family.
The apology letter, addressed to the victim and bearing a stamp by the Tarrant County Clerk's office, mentions "regret" within the first sentence, but also appears to single out one specific child.
"On behalf of our family, let me convey now formally my regret over the act of defacement to your residential entry column committed by [REDACTED] July 25th, 2012."
The letter goes on to say, "I am sorry that in spite of every action taken, we were not able to interdict this fragile child's act."
The Mauney family statement appears to outwardly reject any responsibility for what reportedly happened that July 2012 night:
"The Apology and Restitution offered today are identical to those offered by us – at the front door of the Victim within hours and on two subsequent occasions – but refused. They do not express a mantle of blame or shame. To the contrary, We stepped in and made the Victim’s damages whole when the child-perpetrator’s family refused."
The statement continues:
"The full measure of this story has yet to be told, but for now let our experience serve as a clarion call to all adults welcoming minor children into their home for any social event: The secret agenda and shrewd, exploitative capabilities of certain littered personalities can draw you also into the center of an unrestrained malevolent storm beyond your imagining or control."
In an affidavit filed Monday, assistant district attroney Thielman called the apology posted to Mauney's Facebook page, affixed with the District Clerk’s stamp, a "purported" apology and lays out the case that shows it is a fraud.
"The defendant had published a statement as well as a copy of the purported apology on her Facebook page. The posted apology was not, in fact, the apology that I had received in exchange for the dismissal," Thielman wrote.
"The Tarrant County District Clerk’s Office reported to my office that on Aug. 5, 2014 a well-dressed man presented a document to the Clerk’s office. He told the deputy clerk that he was there on behalf of the defendant, Tara Mauney’s, attorney. In accordance with her duties, the deputy clerk file stamped the document. The document is the purported apology," Thielman wrote.
J. Warren St. John, Mauney's defense attorney told NBC 5 Monday that he did not send any representative of his office to have paperwork stamped by the district clerk, and denied any knowledge of the origin of Mauney's purported apology letter.
As a part of its filing Monday, the district attorney's office released the official letter of apology, dated Aug. 5, and signed by Tara Mauney.
The letter reads as follows:
"On July 25th, 2012, I took 8 middle schoolers to Walmart to buy toilet paper in order to wrap houses in the neighborhood. They were excited to toilet paper houses in the neighborhood. Other children came down to 'ding dong ditch' at my house. The children at my house responded. I did not stop them from doing these things. From this, the damage escalated and your home was damaged by markers and food. The markers and the food came from my house. I did some things and failed to do some things that night that I regret. Please accept this, my apology for the damages caused to your house. Restitution has been paid in full to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office."
In addition, the affidavit filed Monday specifically references the Mauney family statement posted to Facebook.
"She notes that she '[does] not express a mantle of blame or shame.' The actual apology submitted through her attorney and signed by the defendant states differently," Thielman pointed out.
"The defendant's Facebook posting warns of a 'secret agenda and shrewd exploitative capabilities by certain littered personalities.' Signing a private apology, seeking to secure its confidentiality through counsel and then publishing an alternative document with differing claims in a public forum is arguably the very definition of a secret agenda and shrewd exploitative capabilities of certain littered personalities. The ends of justice are frustrated by misleading documents published to represent the workings of the court," Thielman added.
Attempts to reach the Mauney and the victim at their homes Monday were unsuccessful.
A man who said he was Mauney's husband called NBC 5 Monday night to say his family had submitted at least five separate apology letters to the victim over the previous two years, and he appeared to be unclear as to which specific apology letter the district attorney's office was referring to.
When an attempt was made to clarify the perceived discrepancies between the two apology letters, the man ended the phone call.