MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- The case against four Midland Trinity school administrators accused of failing to report alleged abuse with the intent to cover up has been dismissed after prosecutors called into question the validity of the testimony provided by the lead investigator in the case.
According to an affidavit obtained last year, Dean of Students Todd Freese, Director of Admissions Adrianne Clifton, Head of Schools Shelby Hammer, and Head of Middle School Chrystal Meyers were all arrested after a former student made an outcry of abuse on February 22, 2022, during an interview at Midland Children’s Advocacy Center. The investigator in that case, Detective Jennie Alonzo, testified before a judge to secure search warrants after listening in on the child’s interview.
In her testimony Tuesday, Alonzo said she was asked to secure those warrants without any further investigation. Tuesday night, Assistant District Attorney Timothy Flathers sent an email to the defendant’s counsel stating the DA’s office was questioning the validity of Alonzo’s testimony.
Court Wednesday was delayed by several hours and reconvened at 12:30 p.m., that’s when prosecutors said all charges against the accused would be dismissed. Prior to that decision, however, several witnesses took the stand and said those on trial are and have always been considered as trustworthy by their peers.
The defendants left the court room today to cheers of joy and applause from all those who have walked alongside them through the court process the last week and a half.
The following is a statement provided by defense attorneys representing the four Trinity staffers:
“For 425 days, the Trinity Administrators have suffered under the weight of false accusations. The Trinity family has been without its leaders, mentors, and role models. We know now that, at Laura Nodolf’s direction, these people were arrested at school, led out in handcuffs in front of the children on the easily disproven word of a troubled teen and her disgruntled mother.
Now after 10 days of trial, and only half of their witnesses testifying, the prosecutors finally recognize what has been apparent since day one—these people should never have been arrested, charged, or tried in the first place.
These continued baseless prosecutions have come at enormous costs, not only to dedicated professionals, but also to Midland County taxpayers. Today’s dismissal is a hollow victory and only partial justice, but stay tuned.”Frank Sellers
Alonzo was also instrumental in mounting a case against Midland Christian School leaders last year on the same charges. Those administrators filed suit against Alonzo and the City after a Grand Jury failed to indict them on those charges.