Officials say that five officials from a Texas Christian school were arrested for failing to report an alleged sexual assault on a ninth grader in the locker room. The incident occurred during a practice of baseball.
Two Midland Christian School coaches and three administrators were among the faculty arrested Wednesday. They were charged with failing to report with intent conceal neglect or abuse.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained from NBC News, the five were Jared Lee (school superintendent); Dana Ellis (secondary school principal); Matthew Counts (secondary assistant principal); Gregory McClendon (athletic director and head football coach); and Barry Russell (baseball coach).
According to the affidavit Midland Police received notification on Jan. 28 regarding possible sexual assault. A forensic interview was set with the victim on February 11.
According to the affidavit, the ninth grader was allegedly attacked during practice at Max H. Christensen Stadium in baseball on Jan. 20.
Unnamed victim claimed that he entered the locker area to change and was shocked when the lights suddenly went out. He claimed that he heard someone yell "freshman initiation" and that a 10th-grader began hitting him. According to the affidavit, he claimed that he could hear people screaming while he was being hit.
According to the affidavit, he was then allegedly sexually assaulted by another student with a baseball bat.
According to the affidavit, the victim and the alleged attacker see each other every single day and play on the same baseball team.
According to the affidavit, the victim informed school officials about what had happened the next day. However, nothing was done.
On February 11, police went to Midland Christian School. Ellis claimed she was aware that an investigation was underway into the incident, and that it had been documented. Ellis denied that Superintendent Lee was able to provide copies of the documents when police asked for them.
According to the affidavit, Lee was notified of the alleged assault Jan. 21 and directed McClendon, Counts, to conduct an investigation. However, Texas law requires that the incident be notified to law enforcement and other state agencies.
According to the affidavit, Lee refused to give documentation to police and refused answers to questions on February 14. Later in the day, an affidavit states that police executed a search warrant on the school.
According to the affidavit, it was discovered that five of the five arrested administrators knew about the sexual assault but did not report it to police.
The affidavit stated that instead of reporting the incident, they tried to hide the abuse or conceal it from authorities.
Lee's documents were found in the school's search, but police claimed that they were created either on February 11th or 12.
According to the affidavit, emails that were turned over during the investigation revealed that Lee, Ellis and McClendon had spoken about the alleged incident via email.
The affidavit stated that "in the emails it was made clear that asexual assault had occurred, which the school had a responsibility to report." "Several administrators refused to report the incident, as was shown in emails when responding to the complainant."
Wednesday saw all five released from Midland County Jail under recognizance bonds. NBC affiliate KWES-TV of Midland reported.
NBC News reached out to Lee, Ellis and McClendon for comment. It wasn't immediately clear if the Counts, McClendon, Russel had legal representation.
Midland stated in a statement that a student was taken into custody in this case. However, the city would not comment further because the case involved a juvenile. The investigation continues.
Jason Stockstill, President of the Board of Trustees at Midland Christian School, stated in a statement that the school was cooperating with law enforcement during the investigation.
"School disciplinary action was taken after an alleged hazing incident in which some student athletes were involved. MPD contacted school leadership regarding the incident." he stated.
He also noted that the school is now being overseen by qualified acting administrators.
Stockstill stated, "The safety of our students' physical, mental, and emotional health is the greatest responsibility we have as educators."