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As early voting begins in East Montgomery on Tuesday, the battle for public opinion rages on, but the biggest differences are not necessarily between candidates. A Willis woman and her son are speaking out against candidate Monte Lane who is, for the second time, challenging Pct. 4 Commissioner Ed Rinehart for his seat.
Tamatha Moreci and her son, Tyler Bynum, say Lane is a racist, a child abuser, and a liar, who should not be in any position of power and they want their story told. They say they witnessed Lane’s abuse firsthand three years ago and took his daughter to Child Protective Services, which resulted in her removal from Lane’s home and placement with his brother, before Lane moved his family to Utah to escape having his secrets exposed.
Lane says Moreci and Bynum are liars who have emerged with a convoluted story that is part of the incumbent’s strategy to win the election, which Lane says will end differently this time. During an interview lasting over 2 ½ hours, Lane’s responses to questions raised by Moreci and Bynum’s statements included the words “lies” and “Rinehart,” over and over.
However, when he was first asked about their allegations and had no time to prepare, his response was, “That’s got nothing to do with this. That don’t have nothing to do with this race.”
Originally, that was true. Moreci went to the news media with the same information three years ago, nearly a year after Lane’s first failed bid for the Commissioner’s seat, when no one knew he would run again. Since he was not in office or a candidate at the time, no news media took an interest.
Later in last week’s interview, Lane was again asked about whether CPS removed his child from his home.
“I’m talking about- the woman is a liar – I’m not gonna comment on nothing else,” he said.
Though Lane maintains Moreci is working to get Rinehart reelected, he had no evidence or explanation for his contention.
Moreci no longer lives in Pct. 4 and her 18-year-old son, Tyler, lives in Harris County and attends the University of Houston.
Tyler was a sophomore at Caney Creek High School when he met Lane’s freshman daughter. On Tyler’s 16th birthday, he says she invited him to a dance at her church, and she and Susan Lane, picked up Tyler at his home. He says he met both of her parents that night and they seemed very nice. If his being bi-racial were an issue, they did not show it, he said.
Tyler and Lane’s daughter continued to grow closer, he said and there seemed to be no problem until a teacher saw him kiss her goodbye after walking her to a class. The teacher wrote what’s called a “referral” which went to Susan Lane, informing her of their infraction.
“Her mom gave it to her dad, and that’s when Monte found out about that, and pulled her out of school,” Tyler said. “Then everything went down from there.”
Monte Lane’s daughter then told Tyler she would now be home-schooled, he said, and her father would not allow them to see one another. After Tyler got his driver’s license in December, the teens began to secretly see one another, but they were soon caught by Monte Lane.
Tyler says the girl was so afraid of what her father would do that she begged him to take her somewhere and he wound up leaving her at a cousin’s house.
When the Lanes could not find their daughter, Moreci says they contacted her and she called her son and told him to bring Lane’s daughter back to her house.
Moreci said she thought the adults would talk to the children together when the Lanes arrived, in the hopes of setting some boundaries. She and Tyler say, instead, Monte Lane was yelling at his daughter from outside, demanding that she come to him and seemed so enraged, they were taken aback.
“She was scared,” Tyler said. “She wouldn’t go she wouldn’t leave, so he goes in the back of the house just drags her out of the house yelling and screaming.”
Moreci described their exit as Monte Lane slinging his daughter through her house.
Tyler said as Monte Lane left, he turned back to the boy and said, “I should knock your front teeth out you f’ing nigger. You’re lucky you don’t wind up dead in a ditch.”
His mom told him to get inside and lock the door and he complied.
The next day, Tyler says he got a message to go and pick up Lane’s daughter, who told him her dad had beaten her and locked her in the bathroom. They met Moreci at CPS, he said.
“That’s when we filed all these charges on what Monte had done to her,” Tyler said.
Lane’s daughter was dressed in pajamas, Tyler said, and he saw serious bruises all over her lower legs. CPS took photos of those and then asked him to leave the room while they photographed those covered by her pajamas.
Moreci and Tyler say CPS placed Lane’s daughter with his brother Robin, which Moreci questioned at the time.
Tyler said the girl soon told him that Monte Lane had told Mr. Hickey with CPS that Tyler beat and bruised her, and had also drugged and raped her.
Moreci and Bynum say Tyler was never questioned about it.
A short time later, they say Monte Lane moved his family to Utah, including his daughter. They never knew if CPS legally returned her.
Lane claims one of his other daughters had cancer and they went to Utah for specialized treatment, but Tyler says as close as he and Lane’s daughter were, she never mentioned a sick sister.
Tyler and Moreci are certain the Lanes moved because their secrets were being exposed.
“They went to get away from this – this was spreading- because me and my mom, we’d made flyers because everybody’s blind to it,” Tyler said. “This guy, Monte Lane, nobody knew who he was and what he’s done.”
“Mom put flyers out at the church and everywhere so people could realize who he was, so he moved away and all of a sudden,” he said.
Tyler said he continued to hear from Lane’s daughter now and again, but they eventually grew apart. She has a year of high school left and he has gone on to the U of H where he is majoring in sports administration.
Just when the series of awful events began to fade into the past, Tyler said he came home for a CCHS football game in late 2009, and was approached by a familiar face with a new attitude.
“(Monte Lane) came and apologized for all the things he did to her and the things he said to me and then wanted to apologize to my mom, he wanted my mom’s cell number and I didn’t give it to him,” Tyler said. “I didn’t care so I just said okay, okay.”
The racial slur was not addressed, he said.
Tyler said Lane approached him at another event and tried to make idle chitchat and the motivation was unclear until he began to see campaign yard signs.
“Now that I know he’s running for (office) I understand why he’s trying to apologize to me and why he’s trying to talk to me,” he said. “He didn’t want this to become like it is now – he didn’t want us to come out with this.”
Lane also denies apologizing.
“I never apologized – apologized to him for what,” Lane asked. “I never threatened him. It’s all a lie.”
As for the commissioner’s race and Monte Lane’s assertion that the mother and son were tools of another political campaign, Tyler said he lives in Houston and doesn’t really care who wins, as long as it is not Monte Lane.
“If there were 300 other people running, I would randomly pick somebody else over Monte because I know what kind of man he is,” Tyler said. “He’s just a bad person.”
Additional information is being gathered today and will be presented as soon as all leads have been pursued.
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