He recounts his ordeal. "Two-and-a-half years after getting my Ph.D., I earned the opportunity to become principal at Chester High School," he says. "During my four months at Chester, I felt like everything was perfect. In a matter of hours, everything I worked years for was wiped out over a lie."
They had to sell Eva's car and considered selling their house to make ends meet. But the real heartache came from being disowned by people they trusted. "People who I thought were my friends stopped calling. This broke my heart. My career was over," Dr. Wilson laments.
Eventually, the 16-year-old student who accused Dr. Wilson recanted. "A local reporter got the accuser to admit on camera that my husband did not have sex with her. After all that we've lost, I can't believe she changed her story," Eva says angrily.
Although Dr. Wilson has been exonerated, he and Eva still struggle to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. "It's very scary to know that our lives are at the stake of this 16-year-old person. It's devastating. You just kill souls when you lie this way," she says.
"Yes, it did. It hurt me more so than anything, because I didn't think that my passion for kids would actually come back to bite me and destroy me and leave me unemployed," replies Dr. Wilson.
"You're talking about the fact that you are involved with your students a lot. I don't mean inappropriately involved," Dr. Phil clarifies. "You're attentive. You're engaged. You interact with all of your students."
Dr. Wilson agrees. "In this particular situation, [the accuser] was doing a book report on my book, Breaking the Cycle, and from that, she was asking me questions," he explains.
Dr. Wilson was arrested for sexual misconduct with the accuser, and had to post $50,000 bond to get out of jail. Turning to Eva, Dr. Phil asks, "What was your reaction to this?"
"I was shocked. I couldn't believe that someone would lie on Doc this way. That's not the type of person he is, and I continuously say this," she maintains. "And then a rush of anger came out."
"Did you ever doubt whether it was true or not?"
"Never," she insists. "I know who my husband is. That is one of the reasons why I married him. He shows the same passion I do as an educator. We love education. We love being administrators."
"I feel, as a journalist, it's not my position to say what I think happened or didn't happen. I only know what I reported. And I was first introduced to Dr. Wilson before all the
Dawn says she was inspired by the former principal's dedication. "When I learned that charges were pending against Dr. Wilson, I was absolutely in disbelief. As a person, I found it shocking and not believable," she remarks. "I was the first person to interview this young lady. She actually called me and said she wanted to set the record straight ... I found her very devoid of any emotion. She showed no remorse. When I said, 'Do you realize that you accused Dr. Wilson of a crime? That he could lose his job and go to jail?' she didn't even seem to grasp that fact."
"You think some people pieced this together circumstantially and it looked bad?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Yes," Dr. Wilson replies.
Dr. Phil observes that when Dr. Wilson became principal of Chester High, the school was spinning out of control. "You made a lot of changes. You brought in a lot of new people. You got rid of a lot of old people. You made a lot of changes, which means you didn't make a lot of friends," he says.