Five Midland Christian School officials in Texas hid horrific sexual assault in locker room, police say

Five officials at a private Christian academy in Texas are facing felony charges on charges they failed to notify authorities after a ninth-grade student said he was sexually assaulted by an older student during of a hazing incident on “first year initiation day”.

The three trustees and two sports coaches of Midland Christian School are identified in an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast as Superintendent Jared Owen Lee, High School Principal Dana Elizabeth Ellis, Athletic Director Gregory Neal McClendon, High School Assistant Principal Matthew David Counts, and Baseball Coach Barry Lee Russell.

“We are motivated in every way by our faith in Jesus Christ, trying to serve as a reflection of God’s unconditional love for all people,” The Midland Christian website proclaims. “We seek to honor the Lord in all that we do by operating Midland Christian School in a manner consistent with biblical principles. It is important to us that every word and deed of Midland Christian School, its employees, representatives, volunteers and students is consistent with and in furtherance of the religious goals of Midland Christian School: both publicly and privately.

But the five school officials apparently failed to live up to those principles following the alleged January attack, which first came to light speak Midland Reporter-Telegram.

On January 28, a detective from the Midland Police Department was notified of a “possible child molestation” that had occurred eight days earlier after a baseball practice at Midland Christian.

In an interview with authorities, the unnamed victim said he had just entered the locker room to change when the lights were turned off. Someone said it was “freshman orientation day”, and a 10th grader started hitting on the ninth grader.

The ninth grader’s hands were pinched and he was rolled onto his back, the affidavit states. He was then sexually assaulted with a baseball bat as other students watched and cheered, he said.

The next day, the freshman told school officials what had happened. And then, nothing.

“The two see each other every day because they are on the same baseball team,” the affidavit continues.

On February 11, police investigators showed up at Midland Christian and spoke with Ellis, the high school principal. She told cops she was aware of the incident and that it had been documented. However, Ellis said Lee, the school superintendent, was the only one with access to the files.

When Ellis told Lee about the horrific incident, Lee ordered McClendon and Counts to “conduct an ‘investigation’ into the incident instead of notifying law enforcement or another state agency”, explains the affidavit.

But when Lee contacted police on Feb. 14, he refused to answer questions or provide the documents Ellis referred to, demanding that cops get a search warrant.

The warrant was granted and executed the same day.

During the search, investigators had access to “notes” written by McClendon and Counts that documented the incident, according to the affidavit.

In the emails between the five that were reviewed by police, “it was very clear that a sexual assault had taken place and that the school had a duty to report it,” the affidavit continues, noting that “there were several e-mails exchanged” and that “several administrators refused to report the incident.”

The five were arrested on Wednesday and released on $5,000 bond. It remains unclear whether they have retained attorneys to speak on their behalf.

Thusday, police have arrested a student involved in the alleged attack, authorities said. No further details have been released and the student, who is a minor, has not been identified.

“Our school officials have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and their investigation,” said Midland Christian’s board chairman. say it Journalist-Telegram in a report. “Currently, we have qualified interim administrators to oversee the campus, oversee student activities, support faculty, and maintain the day-to-day running of the school. The physical, spiritual, and emotional safety of our students is the most important responsibility which we assume as educators and take seriously. We appreciate the support and prayers of our Christian parents, teachers, staff and students in Midland as we continue to lead, build and equip for the Christ.

The allegations in the Midland Christian case are eerily similar to those set out in a 2020 civil lawsuit filed by a public school student in the Midland suburb of Greenville. The administrators are accused of covering up the repeated sexual assaults of a student athlete by his teammates, according to court documents reviewed by The Daily Beast, who say the school not only tried to sweep the alleged assaults under the rug, but retaliated by “cutting off a long-standing business relationship” with the victim’s father. the the trial is expected to go to trial in September.

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