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Three former Midland Christian employees get their indictments dismissed

Jared Lee, Dana Ellis and Matthew Counts will no longer be indicted for failure to make a required child abuse report.

MIDLAND, Texas — Three former Midland Christian School employees, Jared Lee, Dana Ellis and Matthew Counts, got approval from Midland County Judge Jeffrey Robnett on Monday to dismiss their indictments for failure to make a required child abuse report.

The three MCS employees were charged and indicted back on Nov. 10, 2022 for that charge.

Lee, Ellis and Counts were also charged back in February 2022 for failure to report a sexual assault that happened during a baseball practice.

Ector County District Attorney Dusty Gallivan filed the motion to dismiss the case in a Court of Appeals court. 

Gallivan took over the case from Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf because she recused herself.

Judge Robnett went ahead and dismissed the indictments because the charges against them did not meet elements of offense, according to court papers.

Here's a statement sent to us by Jeff Parras, Matthew Counts' Attorney:

"We were elated with yesterday's dismissal of last November's unjust indictments of Matthew Counts, Dana Ellis, and Jared Lee. As we've said from day one last year, the charges in these indictments were false and retaliatory. 

Since the wrongful arrests of 5 Midland Christian educators - including these three - and 4 Midland Trinity educators in early 2022, the Midland Police Department (MPD) detectives responsible for these investigations have somehow been promoted within the Midland Police Department. During that same time, a grand jury of Midland County citizens rejected their first claims against the MCS 5 only to have one of those detectives seek other, unfounded, retaliatory charges against these three citizens whose charges are now also dismissed. Similarly, the Midland Trinity case fell apart and was dismissed midtrial, a rarity, with the district attorney's office calling one of those same investigators a liar in their dismissal of that case. 

Yet somehow these investigators were promoted since the first false arrests of all these citizens in February of 2022. As there is no accountability demanded or exercised at the top of MPD, the elected city officials should take a close look at MPD leadership to determine the problem so that innocent Midland citizens aren't subjected to this in the future. 

We are thankful that Dusty Gallivan - who was appointed to take over the case when the Midland District Attorney's office recused themselves during the summer - and his staff, who took a fresh, unbiased, honest look at this case, saw it for what it was and dismissed these unjust indictments. Mr. Gallivan and his assistant DA, Carmen Tellez, digested every bit of information offered and reviewed the case with as much information as possible to make the most informed, honest decision possible: dismissal of these cases which never should have been filed. 

We hope that this is the first step in Mr. Counts, Mrs. Ellis, and Mr. Lee getting their good names and outstanding reputations back to what they were before these investigators with the Midland Police Department tarnished them with these false allegations."

Newswest9 was also sent this statement by Frank Sellers, Jared Lee's Attorney:

"The last of three baseless prosecutions of nine dedicated lifelong educators ended today. Jared Lee and his family are overjoyed this case finally landed at the Ector County DA’s Office, who agreed in the dismissal no crime was committed. Reputations ruined; careers destroyed; and so much other devastation in the process.

 Sadly, this is what happens when a District Attorney involves themselves in and directs investigations of incidents they later prosecute. If you believe Laura Nodolf or any Midland District Attorney investigated your case prior to arrest, and then later prosecuted you, please reach out to us. It’s time to do something."

RELATED: 1 current, 2 former Midland Christian School employees indicted on failure to report charges

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