The Medina County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute Hallettsville baseball players accused of sexually assaulting a teammate, Lavaca County Attorney John Stuart Fryer said Wednesday.
Fryer said he talked to Medina County Assistant District Attorney Julie Solis on Tuesday, and Solis indicated she was going to decline the case.
He deferred to Solis to explain why, but she could not be reached by deadline Wednesday.
“When a DA declines something or any prosecutor, they are usually declining it based on insufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. They are not making their own finding of whether or not it happened,” Fryer said.
March 27, Hallettsville police received a report of an assault.
The assault allegedly happened on March 2 at a motel in Hondo, where they had a game, so police there investigated.
The week of June 20, Hondo police concluded their investigation and turned their findings over to the Medina County District Attorney’s Office.
A Lavaca County grand jury, meanwhile, indicted Hallettsville Head Baseball Coach Calvin “Shorty” Cook, Assistant Principal and Head Basketball Coach Scott Cottenoir and Hallettsville High School Principal Darrin Bickham on a state jail felony charges of failure to report child abuse.
The charges were upgraded from a Class A misdemeanor because they intentionally concealed the abuse allegations, according to the indictments.
Fryer said the lack of an indictment in Medina County for perpetuating the assault will not affect the failure to report child abuse cases pending in Lavaca County. He said he does not have to prove whether abuse happened.
Hallettsville school district Superintendent Jo Ann Bludau said Wednesday that when she last checked on the status of the case with Hondo Police Chief Brian Valenzuela, he, too, confirmed the Medina County District Attorney’s Office was going to decline the case.
Bludau expected either the police department or the district attorney’s office to publish a news release. She added she was as eager as anyone to learn more and share that with the district and parents.
She said she would “certainly” be relieved by the district attorney declining the case.
“Certainly. Certainly. Safety and security is a top priority in our district and this has been a subject of concern and we’re obviously trying to do whatever we can to make sure our students and everyone involved is protected and treated with respect. That’s why I’d like to have a little more information about the final determination on the case,” she said.
Bludau, who initially said the district did not believe there was merit to the charges against school employees, didn’t bring up how their case would be affected by the decision on this one until she was asked by an Advocate reporter on Wednesday.
“I really don’t know how that’s all going to work. Obviously, I want our district to get back to the business of school and to not be so concerned by all of this, but the justice system has to work. I’ve been patient and will continue to be very patient,” she said.