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Texas Christian School Staff Members Arrested for Failing to Report Hazing Assault

Five staff members at a Christian school in Midland, Texas, were arrested Feb. 16 for failing to report the alleged sexual abuse of a baseball player in a school locker room.

Three administrators and two coaches at Midland Christian School are charged with failure to report with intent to conceal neglect or abuse, a state felony, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

Jared Owen Lee, 41, the school’s superintendent; Gregory Neal McClendon, 55, the athletic director; Barry Lee Russell, 62, the baseball coach; Matthew David Counts, 27, the assistant secondary principal; and Dana Elizabeth Ellis, 42, the secondary principal, all have been released on bond.

A student also has been arrested in connection with the incident, city officials told the Reporter-Telegram.

Court documents said that Midland Police Department detectives were told by the victim the assault occurred Jan. 20 in the locker room at M. H Christensen Stadium on the school’s campus. The victim said he was hit and assaulted with a baseball bat as part of what he was told was a “freshman initiation.”

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The record shows that Ellis knew about the assault Jan. 20 and that Lee was notified the next day, but that neither reported the incident to authorities.

The police department said it has emails showing school administrators were aware of the sexual assault. On Feb. 14 Lee told detectives he would not provide them with any documents regarding the assault without a search warrant.

In a statement regarding the incident and subsequent arrests, Jason Stockstill, president of Midland Christian School’s board of trustees, said the school had taken unspecified disciplinary action in response to the incident.

“The physical, spiritual, and emotional safety of our students is the most important responsibility we bear as educators and one we take seriously,” Stockstill said. “We appreciate the support and prayers of our Midland Christian parents, faculty, staff, and students as we continue leading, building, and equipping for Christ.”

He said that school officials have and will continue to cooperate with the investigation, and that under advice from legal counsel, his statement would be the school’s “only statement on the matter at this time.”

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.