Witness Statement

My name is Lynn Davilla Shields. I graduated from Presentation High School in 1978. 

In 1977, I took an English class with Marcy Ray. Miss Ray had given us an in-class assignment to do a stream of consciousness writing exercise. It was the day of or before a big dance, and most of the girls wrote about that. Another classmate/friend was not going to be attending the dance and wrote about her feelings related to that, and about her annoyance with all the hoopla around a dance.

Later, my friend informed me that Miss Ray had approached her to talk about her stream of consciousness assignment. Soon after that, my friend told me that Miss Ray, who she now referred to as Marcy, was inviting her on weekend outings and to do other non-school-related activities—including visits to her house. It was important to both Miss Ray and my friend, who was 16 or 17 at most, that no one, especially my friend’s parents, find out.

At some point, my friend’s parents became suspicious of Miss Ray’s intentions and tried to see to it that their daughter no longer associate with Miss Ray outside of school. I believe they contacted the school, but clearly nothing effective, if anything at all, was done to stop Marcy Ray.

Marcy Ray and her minor student, my friend, continued in their “relationship” despite this, and asked me to help keep it secret. I agreed to help my friend because I thought she would never forgive me if I outed their “relationship.” I knew it was wrong of Miss Ray. During that period, much to my shame, I covered for them so they could continue to see each other. At one point, I actually talked to Miss Ray on the phone. She wanted to make sure I was covering for them that day, and she thanked me for my support. I remember feeling sick when she said that, as it was not my intention to support her—only my friend.

My friend never told me the specifics of their interactions, but I believed it was romantic in nature. My friend did not identify as gay then nor does she now. My perspective of what happened is that Miss Ray studied her students, and she saw the vulnerability of my friend. Marcy Ray also knew my friend’s many strengths and aptitudes and was sure to connect with her and compliment her on those. I didn’t know the name for it then, but I could tell Miss Ray was grooming her.

This “relationship” went on for an extended period of time.

I have permission from my friend to tell my personal experience as it relates to this crime. She does not want her name revealed or to go public. I ask that you respect this as she has suffered enough—as you might imagine. I am deeply grateful to her for her selflessness in allowing me to speak out. I hope it helps bring out the truth, ugly as it may be.  Thank you for all you and Make Pres Safe are doing!

Lynn Davilla Shields
Presentation Class of 1978