Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Ex-wife denies giving Hernando school official permission to use her identity

BROOKSVILLE — Douglas Compton, the Hernando school system's new transportation director, told authorities there was a perfectly good reason why he used his ex-wife's identity to secure a student loan:

She agreed to it.

Compton said he called her on the phone after their divorce, and she gave him the necessary information so he could use her as a co-signer on the loan, according to Hernando County Sheriff's Office records.

Debra Sloan, who gave up the name Compton in the divorce, says that's not true.

There was no phone call. No permission. And no way she would help him with the loan.

Newly released arrest records paint two dramatically different pictures of the circumstances leading to Compton's arrest in July on a charge of using someone else's identity without permission.

For now, Compton remains with the school district, in the job for which he was hired just three months ago.

• • •

Compton, 43, was arrested July 25 after turning himself in to authorities.

He promptly reported his arrest to school district officials, as required, said superintendent Bryan Blavatt.

He has also explained the arrest to his staff.

The district has not punished Compton, who was hired in May and makes $79,225 a year.

Blavatt said there was no reason to immediately suspend Compton because of the nature of the accusations and the fact that he doesn't have direct contact with students.

He said he would make a decision later.

Blavatt said there is no district policy or state statute dictating how to handle this type of incident and that the district acted in line with past practice.

Compton has entered a plea of not guilty.

• • •

Compton and Sloan divorced in February 2010, when Compton was employed as the routing supervisor for the Pinellas County school system.

It was a caustic split, and they stopped talking. She returned to her maiden name.

They had only spoken on one occasion since the divorce was finalized, Sloan said in a sworn interview with the Sheriff's Office. A couple weeks after they split, Compton called looking for a small kitchen appliance they had shared, she said.

"The two ended their marriage on very bad terms and have had no reason to communicate with each other and there is no way that she would help him after the divorce," according to a Sheriff's Office report summarizing an interview with Sloan.

Authorities said Compton used his former wife's name, date of birth and Social Security number to help him take out a $7,000 loan. He got the loan in May 2011, 14 months after the divorce.

On the application, Compton used his ex-wife's married name, Debra Compton, instead of her maiden name. He provided his telephone number as Sloan's and made a fictitious email address for her, according to the Sheriff's Office.

• • •

Compton gave a markedly different story.

As part of the divorce settlement, he took the couple's debt, according to a Sheriff's Office report of his sworn interview. They both agreed that Sloan would help him obtain school loans since he was still in school, he said. He called her and got her permission and information, he said.

The agreement that Sloan would help him, he later told investigators, was not in the final divorce agreement.

After Sloan said she didn't authorize being a co-signer, the loan was placed solely in Compton's name, according to the Sheriff's Office. They noted that he was current on his payments.

Sloan contested Compton's version.

In addition to never getting a call or giving permission, she told authorities Compton did not take all of the marital debt, contradicting what he said.

She said she did help Compton with school loans during their marriage, but that ended with their divorce.

The prosecutor in the case, Matt Pila, said he feels he has a strong case.

A clause in the divorce settlement states that any oral agreements are superfluous to written agreements, Pila said.

He has made an initial settlement offer to Compton and his attorney of two years of probation, he said.

He noted that Sloan was not due any restitution, nor does Compton have a criminal record.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] (352) 848-1432.

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