Fmr. Dadeville principal, counselor indicted following July arre - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fmr. Dadeville principal, counselor indicted following July arrests

Corey Meadows (L) and Melanie Fernanda McKinney (R) (Source: Dadeville Police Dept.) Corey Meadows (L) and Melanie Fernanda McKinney (R) (Source: Dadeville Police Dept.)
DADEVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

The former principal and counselor of Councill Middle School in Dadeville are now being indicted on several counts of failure to report child abuse and obstructing government operations.

Principal Melanie Fernanda McKinney and Counselor Corey Meadows were arrested on the charges in late July, though court documents show the . McKinney has already been replaced by a new principal, Pam Langford.

Court documents show the claims of student-on-student sexual abuse started as far back as August 2013, but neither school official, whom investigators say knew about the allegations, reported it to police or the Department of Human Resources.

The Tallapoosa County District Attorney's office says the student-on-student sexual abuse claims are still under investigation.

The Tallapoosa County BOE says Superintendent Joe Windle was notified of the police investigation in May and he placed the employees on leave. McKinney's contract has not been renewed. WSFA 12 News has reached out to the Tallapoosa County Board of Education for an update on the status of both individuals with the school system. 

A third employee was also put on leave by the system but was not named because charges were not been filed against that person.

The Alabama State Department of Education is aware of the situation but it is not known at this time if any steps have been taken regarding the certificates of the educators.

Dadeville Assistant Police Chief Christopher Martin's investigation started after allegations of a student-on-student sexual abuse case back in May. During the course of the investigation, authorities say they discovered multiple student victims who were either subjected to sexual assault, harassment, or what is known as the "threat of harm" under the Failure to Report Child Abuse statute of Alabama.

"Prior to the notification by police, Windle nor any other central office employee had knowledge of the incidents which occurred on the Councill campus," said the BOE in a statement. "The allegations of abuse were among students."

The probe by police also uncovered additional alleged criminal actions by Principal McKinney. She is also accused of falsifying paperwork and was getting free meals for family members at Councill Middle and Dadeville High. The funds that were allegedly stolen came from the Child Nutrition Program and is said to have been between $500 and $2,500.

The police department says other possible theft cases regarding the Child Nutrition Program are also being investigated, and they are not necessarily related to McKinney.

McKinney's charges include: 

1 Count of Theft of Property 2nd Degree (Felony)

1 Count of Possession of Forged Instrument 2nd Degree (Felony)

3 Counts of Failure to Report Child Abuse (Misdemeanor)

3 Counts of Obstructing Governmental Operations (Misdemeanor)

Meadow's charges include:

4 Counts of Failure to Report Child Abuse (Misdemeanor)

3 Counts of Obstructing Governmental Operations (Misdemeanor)

Assistant Chief Martin issued the following statement:

"The Dadeville Police Department is committed to the welfare of each and every child in the Dadeville area and beyond.  We want to relay to the public that we will hold every person accountable that is entrusted with the health and welfare of children.  It is tragic that there are victims in this case that will carry this burden with them their entire life and others that could have been further harmed by actions not taken by these individuals.

We also want to relay to the citizens of Dadeville and Tallapoosa County that we will continue to investigate allegations of these types of crimes to include theft from school programs.  We feel that taxpayers should know where their money is going and if it is being stolen through fraudulent means, we will investigate and bring the offenders to justice.  Taxpayers fund our efforts to fight crime and we will hold anyone accountable that misuses taxpayer funds. 

I fully support the efforts of the Tallapoosa County Board of Education. Through my investigation of these crimes I have seen that the Board of Education is truly dedicated to the health, welfare, and education of each and every student in the Tallapoosa County School System.  I believe through their leadership that our schools will continue to improve."

The police department says the investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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