STANTON, Texas (Nexstar) – A Martin County Grand Jury has indicted 40-year-old Justin Matthew Turney on two felony offenses.
As of 2 P.M. on Thursday, Turney was listed as principal of Stanton High School. He has since been removed from the school’s staff directory.
On Tuesday, the Martin County Grand Jury indicted Turney on one count of Indecency with a Child and one count of Inappropriate Relationship Between Educator and Student. Both offenses are Second Degree Felony offenses, according to a press release from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday, Turney was arrested and booked into the Martin County Jail. On Thursday, he was no longer listed on the jail system’s inmate roster.
YourBasin.Com first reported on this investigation in early May. At the time, Stanton ISD released a statement saying a district employee was under investigation. That employee was later confirmed to be Turney.
On May 3rd, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office received an intake report from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services about an offense that reportedly occurred in Stanton. The report alleged a Stanton ISD employee engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student. MCSO adopted the case at the request of the Stanton Police Department, according to the release.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into the allegations set forth in the intake report provided by the state’s Department of Family Protective Services. MCSO determined that criminal offenses did occur upon completion of the investigation, according to the release. Criminal cases were subsequently filed with the 118th District Attorney’s Office as well as the Martin County Attorney’s Office.
As of 9 P.M. on Thursday, it is unknown if Turney is still employed by Stanton ISD.
Dr. Merl Brandon, Superintendent of Stanton ISD, released a statement to YourBasin.Com. It reads in full, quote:
“As the designated spokesperson and Superintendent for the Stanton Independent School District, I am issuing the following statement: On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, the Stanton ISD Administration received information that a Stanton ISD employee was indicted on two felony counts of Indecency with a Child by Contact and Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student. The District has been in close contact with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as well as local law enforcement during its investigation of the District employee and will continue to cooperate with these state and local authorities to the fullest extent permitted by law. State and federal law prohibit the District from disclosing personally identifiable student information, as well as confidential personnel information. Therefore, the District cannot provide further information on this matter. The District takes every allegation of educator misconduct seriously and will take all measures necessary to ensure that its students are educated in a safe and nurturing environment. The District’s policies concerning maintaining appropriate professional educator-student boundaries and refraining from any inappropriate conduct between staff and students are strictly enforced. Student safety is a paramount concern to Stanton ISD.”
This is a developing story.