Cedar Creek Lake

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Ellis County Observer publisher free on bond; pre-trial release conditions prohibit Internet news reporting

by

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area. He is the editor of cedarcreeklake.com. E-mail story ideas to davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.




Former Ellis County Observer website publisher Joseph G. "Joey" Dauben is free on $50,000 bond pending trial on sexual abuse of a child charges in Navarro County and unauthorized use of identifying information on his former website in Ellis County.

The Ellis County Observer website, which he published from a home office on Cedar Creek Lake, was shut down after his arrest in late December. It remains inactive, and there apparently are no immediate plans by anyone to resurrect it.

Dauben, who declined comment citing his attorney's instructions to him, is restricted to living in either Navarro or Ellis County, must wear an ankle-monitoring device and he may not use the Internet for any purpose, according to the conditions of his pre-trial release.

Several other conditions of his release, including that he may not get within 200 yards of anyplace where children congregate, forced him to secure temporary housing somewhere other than his family's residence, which is close to a church daycare center.

Dauben reportedly is in close contact with his family, his girlfriend and a few close friends, but he is not allowed to even read the Internet in addition to the prohibition that he not post any reports or send messages to anyone on it.

During his pre-trial release, Dauben is required to report to Navarro County probation officials each Monday and to Ellis County probation officials each Friday of every week.

On March 28, Dauben was required to appear at the Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie where District Attorney Patrick Wilson personally asked the judge to ensure that the defendant complied with the ban on his use of the Internet.

Wilson reportedly asked for the hearing after receiving complaints from several Ellis County residents who claimed they were frightened by Dauben's release. The complaints apparently were sparked by a blogger and advocate for missing children who contacted people to advise them Dauben was free on bond and to urge them to take action.

The blogger, Erica Morse of MissingPersonsNews.com, alleged on the website that Dauben through his blogging in the past had made false allegations of child abuse and pedophilia, had published minor's medical records, names and ages, made false allegations of murder and illegal disposal of human remains, incited readers to seek revenge against his enemies, threatened his detractors, harassed families of missing children, misrepresented meetings that never took place with public officials and used the Internet to retaliate against people who filed harassment complaints against him. Morse claimed that a national team of reporters are seeking to substantiate the claims against Dauben.

When Morse,of West Texas, contacted CedarCreekLake.com offering support and was advised no intimidation by Dauben had ever occurred, she repeatedly refused to believe the statement and insisted that a CedarCreekLake.com writer had told people he was "terrified" at the prospect of a reprisal from Dauben. Although CedarCreekLake.com has published several reports about Dauben's former muckraking and his legal problems, there has never been any negative criticism received from Dauben or his associates.

During the recent hearing, Dauben and his attorney, Damon Fehler, reportedly assured the Ellis County judge that the former website publisher would rigorously follow all of the conditions of his pre-trial release.

Dauben reportedly told one of his friends in a personal conversation that he was complying with all of the conditions of his release and "not about to do anything that would put his freedom at risk." He also said, "If they were trying to shut me up, they've sure accomplished that."

Prior to his arrest Dec. 19 on the sexual abuse of a child charges, which allegedly involved a 15-year-old male on a church camping trip four years ago, Dauben was living and working from a home office in Payne Springs on Cedar Creek Lake.

While in jail in Navarro County, an Ellis County grand jury indicted him Jan. 19 on the new charges in connection with a report he published on his website last year. The Ellis County charges apparently arose in connection with a raid on his home office by law enforcement officials last summer when all of his computer equipment was seized.

Dauben's bond originally was set at $200,000 by a Navarro County judge, but it was reduced to $50,000 during a March hearing.

Before Dauben's attorney instructed him not to make any comments to the media, the defendant claimed that he was innocent of the charges of alleged sexual abuse of the teenager, who reportedly is now 19. Dauben apparently has not made any comments about the Ellis County charges.

Pictured below are Dauben and his girlfriend at the Ellis County Courthouse.




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Water lightly stained; 73–76 degrees; 0.07’ low. Black bass are fair on squarebill crankbaits, Texas rigged craws and topwaters. White bass are good on slabs and crankbaits. Hybrid striper are fair on slabs and topwaters. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are fair on trotlines.