The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

February 19, 2014

Trials for CPS three rescheduled

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — The trials for three people indicted in connection with an investigation of the local Child Protective Services (CPS) office are currently scheduled to be conducted in May and June.

Trial dates had been set for March 10 for Laura Ard, Natalie Ausbie Reynolds and Rebekah Thonginh Ross.

All three were indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in September.

During a Tuesday morning pretrial hearing in the 354th District Court, Judge Richard A. Beacom agreed with motions from defense attorneys for Reynolds and Ross, seeking a continuance in the case. Beacom reset the trials for June 2, with a pretrial hearing scheduled for May 19.

Beacom had earlier agreed to reset Ard’s trial to May 19, with a pretrial hearing scheduled for April 20.

All three individuals entered not guilty pleas in October.

Ard, of Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Reynolds, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with/fabricating physical evidence. Ross, of Greenville, received four indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with/fabricating physical evidence.

The charges allege all three acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore and that Ross and Reynolds conducted unlawful searches and/or seizures in connection with CPS investigations.

The tampering with physical evidence indictments allege all three defendants acted together on our about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk assessment involving Aretha Moore ... with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”

In three of the official oppression indictments, Reynolds and Ross were alleged to have acted together as CPS investigators to have subjected three separate individuals who were under CPS investigations “to search and seizure that the defendant knew as unlawful” on or about Dec. 16, 20111, March 28, 2012 and June 14, 2012.

Ross was also alleged to have subjected a fourth individual under CPS investigation to an unlawful search and/or seizure on June 27, 2012.

The tampering with evidence indictments are third degree felonies, whereas the official oppression charges are Class A misdemeanors which fall under the jurisdiction of the district court system.