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Patricia Gail Gossett
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Trio of former LISD educators indicted for child abuse

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  • Article Image Alt Text
    Melody Michel LaPointe
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Tarah Michelle Tinney
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Augusta Danielle Costlow

Indictments have been brought against three former Liberty ISD employees on allegations of abuse of a special needs student.

“Providing a safe and caring educational environment for our children is Liberty ISD’s first priority. When we were initially made aware of potential concerns regarding some educators’ interactions with one of our students. Based upon our investigation, we reported the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification and shared our results with law enforcement officials,” reads a statement from the law firm of Buechler and Associates in Austin, Texas, on behalf of Liberty ISD.

According to the statement, LISD officials immediately alerted law enforcement upon learning of the allegations and removed the educators from the classroom while conducting the investigation last year.

“Based upon the investigation back in 2021, none of the individuals continued in our employment from that time forward. Liberty ISD is continuing to work with the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office for the benefit of our children.”

All three suspects were arrested following an investigation of four separate incidents that took place in April of 2021, according to jail records 

According to indictments, all three women are charged with placing the student, who was five years old at the time of the incidents, “in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”

The suspects are alleged to have confined the child in an isolation room, where he reportedly fell, causing injury. The three defendants failed to “voluntarily deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider.”

Three more indictments allege the women failed to feed the child and allowed the consumption of inedible bodily fluids.

According to jail records, Tarah Michelle Tinney, 33, of Liberty, was taken into custody by the Liberty County Pct. 6 Constables Office.

Melody Michel LaPointe, 47, of Baytown, was arrested on Thursday at Bonnie P. Harper Primary School in Baytown, where she is now employed as a teacher. According to jail records, she was taken into custody by the Liberty County Pct. 1 Constables Office.

Goose Creek CISD officials released a statement regarding the arrest during dismissal on Thursday at the school.

“The cause for arrest occurred in Liberty County and is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD in any way. The teacher is currently placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, after which the District will take appropriate action. As this is a pending legal matter, Goose Creek CISD will allow the legal process to proceed and refrain from any further comment.”

The third suspect Augusta Danielle Costlow, 27, of Liberty, was booked in the county jail on Friday.

Bond has been issued on all four charges at $15,000 per offense, totaling $60,000 per woman.

The case has been assigned to the 253rd District Court of Judge Chap Cain, and according to court records, Tinney has retained Logan Pickett as council.