Rod and Mary Beaumont had touted the organization as a national, nonprofit bully-fighting group in desperate need of money to cope with the deluge of calls it received ("Fighting Bullies," Laura Laughlin, February 8). National and local media, including Time and the CBS Early Show, had featured the group and its efforts.
Since opening the hotline in September, the Beaumonts sent out frequent press releases via the Internet. They recounted the incidents of school violence around the world, touted their toll-free hotline as a way to help solve those problems and offered their consulting services to schools. In sometimes hysterical tones, the Beaumonts pleaded for donations to help fund activities that were, they said, helping hundreds of thousands of young victims of bullies and preventing suicides.
But the headquarters was really a shabby rental space in which the phone rarely rang. Some people the Beaumonts said were members of the board of directors (including former governor Rose Mofford and Phoenix Coyotes player Shane Doan) told New Times they were not on the board. The group's anti-bully hotline was started and its intense fund-raising efforts began shortly after the Beaumonts had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
After the article was published, the group's Web site, which had included an archive of dozens of press releases, was altered so it contained only three news releases. No press releases have been sent since then.
Notice of the hotline number later disappeared from the Web site. In its place was an advertisement for grant-writing workshops offered by the Beaumonts -- a curious service for a couple who, records show, can't pay their bills or keep their organization solvent.
Recently, the anti-bully Web site went dark and the group's phone lines were disconnected. Those familiar with the Beaumonts say their silence after the Santee, California, school shooting (and its possible tie to bullying) was particularly out of character.
Prescott police say they have closed the investigation into four graffiti attacks on the group's headquarters. No arrests were made. Investigators wouldn't classify them as hate crimes, but in several press releases and requests for money, the Beaumonts did.
The Beaumonts couldn't be reached for comment. A colleague says they are still in Prescott but are in a reorganization process that may take months.
Recently, their bankruptcy case was dismissed after they failed to comply with a monthly payment schedule designed to keep their creditors at bay. As a result, the couple is now liable for more than $125,000 in debts.