A Monroe County school superintendent released a statement this week confirming he is gay after reports that he used the gay app Grindr made headlines in local media.
Anthony Pack, the superintendent of Monroe County Schools since 2008, released a statement through his attorney, David Doer, on Thursday, March 19. Doer could not be immediately reached for comment.
In the statement, Doer and Pack accuse local reporter, Will Davis of the Monroe County Reporter, of bullying Pack into coming out. Monroe County is a suburb of Macon, Georgia.
Pack insists he has violated no Board of Education policies or misused taxpayer money and instead this matter is a personal one that has been made public in an intrusive an embarrassing way to him and his family. He is currently under investigation for possibly using his school computers to correspond on Grindr or other adult social media. Pack and his attorney deny Pack has done anything wrong. Pack is also currently on medical leave.
“In the last four months my wife and I have been separated and quietly seeking an uncontested divorce. Regardless of my sexual orientation, the personal life of each member of my family has become a discussion point for many in the form of gossip. I have been forced by a journalist that prefers to report on gossip as opposed to news to reveal some facts about myself that I otherwise would hold privately between me, my wife, and my children,” Pack says in the statement.
“Deep personal contemplation, prayer, and a desire to see my spouse as happy as she can be in her personal life, led me to realize that I am gay. I have tried to privately cope with accepting my sexual orientation as not definitive of my identity, but rather a small part of who I am as a father, a person, and a public figure,” Pack adds.
Davis, the editor and publisher of the Monroe County Reporter, wrote and published his story on Pack after receiving an anonymous tip that allegedly shows Pack exchanging sexually explicit photos and texts with another man on Grindr. The same tipster also sent the info to TV station 13WMAZ in Macon which also wrote and broadcast a story on the allegations.
Davis told the Georgia Voice in an email that he is not anti-gay.
“I am not anti-gay and the issue is not Mr. Pack’s sexuality. It’s his job performance. Below I am including the article that appeared in our weekly newspaper, which has won numerous journalistic awards over the past eight years, including being honored as one of the best weeklies in the state overall. The article is fair and accurate and the facts speak for themselves,” Davis said.
Monroe County schools superintendent Anthony Pack said Friday it will be up to the school board to decide whether a sexually explicit on-line chat that surfaced with Pack’s photo is indeed his — and what action, if any, needs to be taken.
“Some of those pictures that are supposed to be me are not me,” Pack told the Reporter.
Pack agreed to an interview after an anonymous emailer sent screen captures to the Reporter. Copies were also sent to 13-WMAZ in Macon and school board chairman Dr. J. Ray Grant. The emails show what is alleged by the emailer to be an explicit conversation between two men on Grindr. Grindr is described online as “a networking application geared towards gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men.
Sent from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, the initial email read: “Here are some interesting screen shots of a conversation involving Monroe Co Superintendent Anthony Pack, from the gay app Grindr. There are additional screenshots that will be sent in a second email. WARNING – the images are graphic.”
Pack told the Reporter anyone can get such photos and noted one of the pictures purported to be him was cropped out of a photo with his family. Other photos depicted nude men, purported to be the ones having the conversation, and certain body parts, none of which could be identified to be the superintendent.
“Those are not my pictures,” said Pack.
Asked if he had ever been on Grindr, Pack said, “I’m not going to respond to that.”
The superintendent said he doesn’t know who might have sent the conversation to the Reporter. One of the two in the conversation had the screen name “Ginger guy”. Pack said after Grant told him about the emails Friday morning he tried to search for “Ginger guy” but could find nothing on the person.
The explicit on-line chat was time-stamped between 3:42 p.m. one afternoon and 10:05 a.m. the next morning. Discussing a possible rendezvous, the person alleged to be Pack told the other party he was on his way to Stone Mountain, adding, “I have a group of 11 people here tomorrow. Have to be super careful if I even can. I am responsible for them.”
The emailer said that conversation started Sunday, Sept. 21, which coincides with a time when Pack was in that area.
The superintendent led a group of about a dozen Monroe County administrators at a GLISI (Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement) conference at the Marriott Evergreen Conference Center in Stone Mountain on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 22-24.
The person purporting to be Pack also said he was “in the education business in Forsyth-Monroe County, 16 miles north of Macon.” He described himself as a “business professional but a Regular Joe at heart.”
[Board of Education] Chairman Grant said he is investigating the matter “so that, when it’s over, no one will say we have been anything other than totally transparent.”
“It is a malicious thing that has happened and I want to get to the bottom of it,” said Grant.
He said if it’s just maliciousness, he wonders what that person will do next?
“And if it’s true,” added Grant, “it’s a problem.”
At Grant’s direction, the Monroe County sheriff’s office picked up Pack’s school-issued computer, cell phone and tablet on Monday to analyze them and make sure there was no content similar to that in that email. Sheriff John Cary Bittick said they’ll also analyze whether anyone hacked into the devices.
When asked directly about the explicitly sexual portions of the alleged conversation, Pack said he is entertaining the idea of hiring an attorney.
Asked what he will tell the school board, Pack said the emails are allegations and it’s up to board members whether they believe he is involved.
“First I’d hear what they had to say, what are they concerned about, what do they want to know, what do I need to make sure they know and let them ask me questions.”
Pack, 47, said it may be that they decide he needs to go on a leave of absence.
“But that’s up to them,” said Pack, “it’s not up to Anthony.”
In January the school board extended Pack’s contract as superintendent for an additional year, through June 30, 2017. Public records show Pack’s salary for 2014 was $151,800.60 and that he was paid an additional $6,145.28 for travel. Pack was hired from Maryland in 2008, replacing Scott Cowart who resigned to return to Carrollton.
We could not immediately reach Willis for comment, but he told 13MAZ he stands by his story. “We stand by our reporting and the facts in our article, they speak for themselves. We’ve been fair and accurate and that is our job. The information was given to us and we reported it and verified it through our reporting.”
Pack told the Macon Telegraph that he is currently on medical leave on an unrelated matter.
“While I am currently on medical leave, dealing with another personal issue that needn’t be reported or discussed further, I look forward to returning to work when I am well, and serving Monroe County with the same passion and vigor that I have for the past seven years,” he said.
The fill statement from Pack and his attorney: