Crime

Christian school’s coaches and administrators arrested and charged for covering up student’s sexual assault

MIDLAND, TEXAS — The Midland Police Department announced this Wednesday that five staff members at Midland Christian School have been arrested and jailed. The three administrators and two coaches were arrested and charged with “Failure To Report With Intent To Conceal Neglect Or Abuse.”

From NewsWest9:

The assault reportedly took place at Christensen Stadium around January 20, 2022 during a baseball practice. The victim, whose name is not being released due to his age, was interviewed by Children’s Advocacy Center.

During the interview, he told the forensic interviewer that he had been in the locker room to change when the lights were turned off.  Another student told the victim that it was “freshman initiation day” before someone began to hit the victim.

The victim said he was then pushed to the ground while still being hit and everyone was screaming at him. He stated he attempted to hit his attacker but was told he was not allowed to hit back. According to the affidavit, the victim then stated he was sexually assaulted using a bat.

While the names of those arrested have not been released, arrest affidavits obtained by NewsWest 9 show Barry Russell, Gregory McClendon, Matthew Counts, Jared Lee, and Dana Ellis were all interviewed regarding a sexual assault at the school. The school’s website shows Lee is the superintendent and Ellis is a secondary principal. Counts is an assistant principal and coach, McLendon is athletic director and football coach, and Russell is a baseball coach.

After the victim was interviewed by police, they went to the school and interviewed Superintendent Lee, who was reportedly notified about the incident back in January and tasked McClendon and Counts to head the school’s investigation. Police say Lee later told them he would not turn over the evidence they wanted and refused to answer any more questions.

When a search warrant was served on the school on Feb. 14, police say the documents they recovered had no information that was relevant to the alleged crime, and were created only a few days prior. This caused officers to conclude that those arrested all had knowledge of the assault but did not report it as required by law. Emails obtained by police also suggested an effort to bury the incident.

It’s not yet known if any students have been arrested for partaking in the assault.

Watch a report on the story over at NewsWest9.

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