COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A beloved educator and cheerleading coach accused of stealing thousands of dollars is cleared of all charges.
Missy Todd was indicted after a state comptroller investigation.
It destroyed her reputation and very nearly cost her her career.
She was vindicated though — a week ago today — in a court of law.
Not only was she found not guilty, but the judge who heard the case against Todd also had strong criticism of the state investigation.
Todd worked here at Columbia Central High School, and the Tennessee State Comptroller was called in to investigate allegations of financial mismanagement.
That led to criminal charges, but none of it held up in court.
"It would have destroyed my career," said Todd. "I was upset. I was embarrassed. I knew I wasn't guilty of it but felt no one would listen."
Todd had worked as a respected educator in Maury County for nearly three decades.
Last year — while serving as cheerleading coach at Columbia Central High School — a complaint was filed about alleged misuse of funds.
The state Comptroller investigated and Todd was charged with forgery and tampering evidence — both felonies — along with misdemeanor theft.
"It was hurtful to me and hurtful to my family," said Todd.
She was put on leave and then reassigned to another school as the prosecution moved forward.
"I don't understand how it got to this point. I don't think there was an adequate investigation from the get-go," said Todd's attorney Jake Hubbell.
He said the facts and evidence simply never supported the charges.
The Maury County District Attorney ended up dropping the felonies, and just this past week, Todd was acquitted of the misdemeanor by a judge at trial.
In a scathing opinion the judge wrote: "To me, at times, it felt like the state comptroller's office — or at least representatives of — were looking for a crime and not investigating for the truth, and that's troublesome to this court."
"I've handled a few comptroller cases, and I've never seen that before," said Hubbell.
Todd hates that it happened her and said the past year's been very difficult.
But she's vindicated and ready to get on with her life.
"My name is cleared, and I don't have this hanging over me everywhere I go."
With the court case behind her, Todd said she hopes to get her job back at Columbia Central High School and return to working with cheerleaders.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to the state comptroller's office for comment on the judge's criticism of the investigation.
They sent a statement that reads:
"The Comptroller's Office stands by all of the facts and information presented in our March 2021 investigative report. The Comptroller's Office is a reporting agency. Decisions to pursue criminal indictments are made by local district attorneys. Our investigative report presents a true and accurate depiction of our findings."