More families are coming forward with complaints of misconduct at T.M. Landry College Prep school after allegations of abuse and fraud at the unaccredited school surfaced last week.
The Breaux Bridge Police Department has received 10 new complaints since Monday, Police Chief Rollie Cantu said Thursday.
He would not describe the nature of the allegations and declined to provide any of the written complaints because they are being investigated.
A lawyer representing families of former T.M. Landry students, Ashlee McFarlane, said several of her clients had filed new reports this week.
"They all concern instances of physical contact by Mike or Tracey Landry on their children while they were attending the school," McFarlane said, referring to the married couple that operates the school.
Previously closed cases are also now being re-investigated, Cantu said. He said he did not know the number of open investigations that have resulted since The New York Times on Nov. 30 detailed allegations of abuse.
The New York Times published a report Friday accusing officials at the T.M Landry Prep School in Breaux Bridge of falsifying records in an att…
Most of the abuse accusations are against the Landrys, who have also been accused of falsifying transcripts and pressuring students to lie on college applications.
Among cases being reopened for investigation is that of Nyjal Mitchell, who initially reported to Breaux Bridge Police in February 2017 that Michael Landry had choked him and attacked three other students, according to his written statement. Nyjal’s mother, Mary Mitchell, said her son was 14 at the time.
Cantu said detectives referred the 2017 case to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office after determining the incidents happened in the school’s previous location on Bordelon Road, outside city limits. The Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the status of the investigation. A public records request filed by The Advocate for the case file is pending.
Cantu said city police reopened the investigation this week because a new witness is claiming the abuse against Mitchell’s son occurred at the school’s current location on Rees Street.
Mary Mitchell said there has never been any confusion that the abuse happened at the Rees Street location, after the school moved there in December 2016.
“He (dragged) my son and put his foot on his throat right here in Breaux Bridge at Rees Street. We were very specific about that,” Mitchell said, referring to her son’s allegation against Michael Landry.
Mitchell told police about the allegation on Feb. 13, 2017, according to a complaint report, which notes that the alleged incident occurred about one month prior.
Mitchell said her son did not immediately tell her about the abuse because the family was preoccupied with caring for her daughter, who had been diagnosed with a rare nervous system disorder that necessitated traveling to New Orleans for treatment.
A teacher noticed something was wrong with Nyjal, and encouraged Mitchell to ask her son about it, Mitchell said. Nyjal opened up about what happened to him and other students when prodded, she said.
“He was like ‘Mike is kind of rough, but it’s not like he did anything to me he wasn’t doing to anybody else,’” Mitchell recalled. “At that point I saw him freeze.”
Mitchell said she called the police department, as well as the Sheriff’s Office, for several months for updates on the investigation, but was never given any information.
The lack of progress was baffling to her children, she said.
“They were asking me, ‘So nothing is going to happen to Mike? He’s not going to be arrested? He can just do this stuff to these kids?’” Mitchell said.
T.M. Landry on Thursday remained open and bustling. A receptionist at the front desk said neither Michael Landry nor Tracey Landry was available to speak. The school has not issued any statements in response to The Times story.
A T.M. Landry board member, Greg Davis, did not return a call Thursday.
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