DICKINSON

Child abuse charges against Dickinson’s former city administrator and his former girlfriend were dismissed Friday after prosecutors told a judge they had insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial.

Christopher Heard and Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Collis had been charged with injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury in November 2020. The charges were dismissed Friday.

The charges stemmed from allegations that Heard and Gonzalez-Collis had tried to force-feed two teenage girls a meal Heard had prepared and they had refused to eat, and then got into a physical altercation with the girls.

Heard on Friday said he was relieved by the dismissal and by the chance to start a life out of the public eye.

“It has provided some challenges for me over the past year,” Heard said. “I’m very relieved the case has been dismissed and now I can figure out next steps.”

Heard’s attorney, Dan Krieger, said he thought the charges stemmed from a rush to judgment by authorities.

“I think that a combination of a lack of evidence and other factors in the investigation led to the dismissal of the case,” Krieger said. “I think there were some credibility issues on the front end of the case that should have been looked at little more closely.”

The charges were detrimental to Heard’s career, Krieger said.

School officials had reported the allegations to police.

Changes in witness statements prompted prosecutors to move for a dismissal, the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

“We determined that a reasonable doubt existed as to the defendant’s guilt because there were substantial changes in witness statements after the case was filed,” said Kevin Petroff, first assistant district attorney. “Therefore, the charge was dismissed because there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.”

Gonzalez-Collis’ attorney didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

Heard and Gonzalez-Collis were arrested in November 2020, about a month after the initial complaint. They were indicted by a grand jury in May 2021. Court records show a jury trial was pending in the 405th District Court. Prosecutors on Friday submitted a request to have the charges dismissed.

Heard’s arrest led to him being fired as Dickinson’s city administrator. A split city council in December 2020 voted to dismiss Heard and pay him $20,000 in severance.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter

@johnwferguson.

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