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Former City Administrator charged with child abuse

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Former Lebanon City Administrator Chris Heard was charged Wednesday with child abuse in Texas where he has been serving as City Administrator of Dickinson, Texas.

Heard was booked into the Galveston County Jail Wednesday on one count of injury to a child, according to jail records. He was free on $20,000 bond.

Head served as Lebanon’s City Administrator from April 2011 until July 2017.

According to the Galveston County Daily News, Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said she had placed Heard on administrative leave while the investigation runs its course.

The charges were filed in connection to an investigation Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputies launched earlier into allegations of child abuse against Heard, Sheriff Henry Trochesset told the Daily News. He also said Heard and his girlfriend, Maria Gonzalez-Collins, had turned themselves in at the jail Wednesday.

The Daily News report said officials with Texas Child Protective Services earlier this year visited Heard’s home and placed two girls, ages 14 and 17, into foster care.

According to the probable cause statement from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Heard is charged with injury to a child with intentional bodily injury.

The statement says one of the girls told investigators she had been force fed with a turkey baster and physically assaulted on Sept. 20 by Chris Heard and Gonzalez-Collins. Investigators said Gonzalez-Collins is seen admitting to pulling the girl’s hair on a Dickinson Police Officer’s body camera video.

A witness is quoted as saying one of the girls had gotten into trouble at school Sept. 30 and Heard was “set off” about it, went through her room, “trashed it” and “made everybody sit down for dinner.” The witness told investigators that Heard “became increasingly angrier” with the girl when she refused to eat and “got a turkey baster to try to force feed her the soup.” The witness said “Chris grabbed the back of (the girl’s) hair, pulled her head back and tried to force it into her mouth.”

The statement says Heard grabbed her legs and pulled her to the ground while trying to force feed her. According to court documents, Gonzalez-Collins was holding down her arms while Heard held her leg and “Chris kept hitting (the girl) with an open hand on her arms and legs and (the witness) said she probably had welts from that.”

At one point, the statement said Heard grabbed her by the hair to pull her back to her chair. The girl told investigators Heard drug her across a wood floor, causing pain and scratches to her back. The witness told investigators the incident lasted two hours.

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