School board race dominated by 'prostitute' attacks

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

It wasn't really much of an "attack" on Torey Alston.

The Broward School Board candidate in District 5 was called a Republican in ads put out by supporters of his Democratic opponent, Rosalind Osgood. Alston is a Republican, though the race is non-partisan and it's in a heavily Democratic district that includes northwest Fort Lauderdale. 

In response, Alston put out a YouTube video asking Osgood to stop the "personal, nasty, negative attacks." And his supporters put out some of of the most personal, nasty, and negative ads ever seen in Broward. Mailers that photoshopped Osgood behind prison bars and calling her a "drug dealer and prostitute."

Osgood, a minister, had a surprising reaction to the ads. 

"It made me grateful my life had changed," she said. 

It was no secret -- Osgood preaches about her past struggles at Mount Olive Baptist Church as a minister and has written a book about it. She cleaned up 24 years ago and has since gained a master's degree, raised three children, and become a spiritual leader.

"I can relate to that mom that is on drugs," she says. "I can relate to that kid who has already been arrested and I also can look them straight in the face and say, 'It happened, so what? If I can rebuild my life so can you.'"

Alston, who works as an aide to County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, knows her story well -- he attends the same church.

"A teacher cannot be an employee of the school system with a felony," said Alston. "So I just think there are different things that should be put out there and the voters will make that decision." 

Osgood says the ads backfired on Alston at the politically influential Mount Olive. 

"They were so outraged and they were so angry," she said, "that someone would call a female clergy person, a woman of God, a prostitute."

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