• August 24, 2019

Judge requests briefs in principal case - Odessa American: News

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Judge requests briefs in principal case

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 2:45 pm

County Court-At-Law Judge Brooke Hendricks-Green requested briefs from attorneys on both sides of a case involving former longtime Ector County ISD principal Linda Voss Tuesday.

Hendricks-Green denied all but one issue in a motion to quash and asked attorneys in the case to provide briefs by 5 p.m. July 17.

John Green represented Voss in court Tuesday and First Assistant County Attorney Greg Barber represented the state.

Hendricks-Green denied all the issues except a motion questioning if alleging sexual conduct is enough or whether it has to be more specific.

Hendricks-Green said she would have a decision on July 18 and she set a pre-trial date of Aug. 20.

Charged with a Class A misdemeanor of failure to report in violation of a section under the Texas Family Code, Voss was booked into the Ector County Detention Center Feb. 26 and released that day on a $1,000 surety bond. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine, or both.

According to an affidavit, Voss was required to report the alleged indecency with a child allegation to Texas Child Protective Services or law enforcement within 48 hours. The affidavit said Voss failed to report the case during that time after she became aware of the allegations.

Green said in court documents that the amended information filed by the county attorney’s office failed to identify what sexual conduct Voss failed to report. “(Principal) Voss cannot possibly defend herself without knowing what or which ‘sexual conduct’ she was alleged to have not reported,” the documents said.

“An Information must provide specific allegations if the statute identifies more than one method by which it can be violated,” the documents say.

Indecency with a child occurs when someone engages in sexual contact with a child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, Green said in a previous article.

Voss said the incident did not involve an adult. “It involved four students and they’re minors (age 10 and 11). Under our training and our policy when it is a student-to-student situation, we as principals are responsible for investigating the situation because up until then it could be hearsay,” she said in April.

“We have seven to 10 days to investigate. If at the end of the investigation we find, or we suspect, abuse has been committed, or neglect, then it is our responsibility to call the appropriate agencies.

“For us, (we) call district police, who would in turn involve (Texas) Child Protective Services after their investigation,” Voss said previously. She said she followed district policy and training.

According to the policy, any district employee who suspects or receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced prohibited conduct shall immediately notify the appropriate district official. In this instance, Voss notified ECISD’s Title IX coordinator, she said.

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