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Affidavits describe Trinity School admins' failure to report after a student reportedly sexually assaulted another student

The administrators were made aware that a female student at the school was being inappropriately touched by another student.

MIDLAND, Texas — Midland Police announced Friday that four administrators have been arrested for Failure to Report with Intent to Conceal Neglect or Abuse.

The four were arrested at around 11 a.m. Friday.

Midland Police have not identified the four people arrested, but current jail records show Todd Freese, Shelby Hammer, Chrystal Myers and Adrianne Clifton are charged in an investigation with matching charges.

Freese is identified on the Trinity website as MS & US Dean of Students/US History Teacher, while Clifton is listed as Assistant Head for Administration/Director of Admission.

Shelby Hammer is listed under Head of School, and Chrystal Myers is Head of Middle School.

According to arrest affidavits obtained by NewsWest 9, a female student under the age of 14 was reportedly sexually assaulted multiple times going back as far as September 2019.

The victim told an interviewer at the Midland Children's Advocacy Center in February 2022 that she had been assaulted every other day for around four months while at the school.

The suspect, who has not been identified but appears to be a fellow student based on information found within the affidavits, reportedly began touching the victim's leg when the teacher stepped out of the classroom before beginning to touch her in other places.

The victim told the interviewer she tried to mouth for help from another student, who reportedly laughed at her. They could not see what was going on based on the way the chair was facing apparently.

After this incident, the student broke down and told a friend, who then reported the incident to the Dean of Trinity, later identified as Freese.

The victim later told Freese another incident had occurred in front of cameras in the gymnasium. She also told Freese she was scared of the suspect due to his difference in size compared to her.

Freese told her they would check for camera footage.

The affidavit continues to describe the multiple sexual assaults the victim faced, including him groping her and forcing her to touch him inappropriately.

The MCAC interviewer said the mother discovered the incidents in December 2019 when she found text messages about the assaults on her daughter's phone.

The victim's parents decided to contact Freese via email; however, Freese claimed to Midland Police that he did not receive any such email.

The parents then went to Trinity to discuss with Freese in person, who said that he had interviewed the suspect and downplayed the incident, calling it a "he said she said situation."

After the winter break, the victim's mother reached out to Hammer to discuss policies about future incidents. A meeting was set up for Jan. 20, 2020.

However, the parents confronted Freese and Myers on Jan. 15 after they "had enough". The mother stressed that the suspect had not yet been removed from her daughter's classes.

The administrators told the parent they would work on it, and also told the parents Hammer was unaware of the incidents, despite the mother insisting she had emailed her and set up a meeting.

A meeting with Hammer proceeded on Jan. 22, where Clifton was present and took notes on a legal pad.

Following all of these meetings where they were made aware of the assaults, MPD says none of the four administrators ever reported the incident to the authorities, a violation of the Texas Family Code.

Soon after, the victim missed several days of school, then COVID hit, meaning the victim and suspect did not see each other again for quite some time.

However, after returning to the school and seeing the suspect again, the victim's family decided to remove her from the school.

In September 2020, Hammer send out a waiver to the victim's parents that would settle the dispute about the assaults.

According to the affidavits, the waiver would allow the parents to "receive a portion of the tuition paid for the school year of 2020-2021" if they signed and avoided litigation or admission of liability or wrongdoing.

The parents reviewed the document and hired an attorney before ultimately deciding not to take away the victim's right to speak out about her assault.

The four were arrested following the victim's interview with MCAC in February 2022.

Their bonds were set at $5,000 according to jail records. As of 6 p.m. none of the four are listed as being detained in the Midland County Jail.

At this time it is unclear if the suspect has been arrested or if he will be facing any consequences.

We have contacted the school for a statement. The following was shared by Michael McWilliams, President of the Board of Trustees.

Dear Trinity Community,

As many of you are aware, Midland police were on campus this morning to detain Head of School Shelby Hammer, Director of Admissions Adrianne Clifton, Head of Middle School Chrystal Myers, and Dean of Students Todd Freese in order to question them for failure to report abuse or neglect. I write this evening to let you know that the Board of Trustees and Administrative Leadership Team are aware of the situation and committed to navigating these difficult circumstances with the students’ best interest in mind.

As you may know, Shelby Hammer wrote to you recently to share information about Trinity’s child protection policies and protocols, including mandatory reporting. Mandatory reporting and student safety is taken very seriously at our school.   While we cannot provide specific details given the active investigation, we can share that to the best of our knowledge, the matters in question occurred years ago and were reported to Child Protective Services. Please rest assured that we are continuing to cooperate with the authorities.  

Tim Jones has been asked to serve as Acting Head of School. We are grateful to him, administrators, and the faculty and staff who continue to hold the welfare and safety of your children as their highest priority and who stepped up today to care for your children and ensure that their learning was uninterrupted. 

We will continue to share information with you as best we can. 

The investigation is ongoing. No further updates are available at this time.

Five administrators at Midland Christian School were arrested just over a week earlier for the same charges.

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