DICKINSON

City Administrator Chris Heard has been charged with child abuse about a month after a state agency removed two teenage girls from his residence.

Heard late Wednesday was booked into the Galveston County Jail on one count of injury to a child, jail records show. His bond was set at $20,000.

Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters late Wednesday told The Daily News she had placed Heard on administrative leave while the investigation runs its course but referred to the allegations against Heard as personal in nature.

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 said.

Trochesset did not have information about the specifics of the allegations against Heard as of late Wednesday.

Heard and his wife turned themselves in at the jail, Trochesset 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, said Melissa Lanford, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, in October.

Lanford declined at the time to comment further about the details of the investigation.

Trochesset in October told The Daily News his deputies were looking into allegations of child abuse in the residence.

News of Heard’s arrest is just the latest in what has been a tumultuous year for the city administrator.

Texas Rangers in October also visited Dickinson City Hall seeking as of yet unspecified government records.

The rangers, the state’s main criminal investigators, arrived just two weeks after claims by a city official about falsified financial data were publicly disclosed.

Heard at the time declined to elaborate on the specifics of the visit, other than to confirm that the rangers arrived seeking city records but left with none.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com.

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