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Monday, January 12, 2009

Texas Youth Commission Sex Scandal UPDATE

TO MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE

Texas Youth Commission Sex Scandal UPDATE - from Eddie Griffin

Review the article below, it is the update and shortcomings of the TYC sexual assaults case. The investigation now reveals that innocent boys were double-bunked with known youth sex offenders in certain TYC facilities.

Such revelations make it appear that Jerry Madden and other state legislators either missed the slow boat the China in the last election or missed the essence of the problem, placed right in front of their oversight eyes.

Previously, we documented that a culture of corruption and sexual exploitation of youth prevailed inside the Texas Youth Commission. Under-age prisoners confined in youth detention facilities were being “turned out” for the pleasure of sexual exploiters like Warden Ray Brookins and administrator John Paul Hernandez.

Other cases of prison gang rapes were reported, in conjunction with allegations that these same victims were later victimized by agency officials.

It is a well-known practice for prison officials knowingly double-up innocent kids with known “booty bandits”, sometimes for pacification of dangerous inmates, and at other times, to use the humiliation and shame to force them into further sexual acts for their own deviant pleasures.

When such cases came to light through prison grievance proceedings, they were routinely squashed by the very perpetrators in their official office, operating under the colors of law, and immune from oversight.

What recourse does an inmate have to petition for redress of their grievances if the very people reviewing the grievances is the perpetrator of the crime, a system which we often referred to as “the fox watching the hen house”? These kids thus have no one to hear or heed their cries.

“It sounds like nothing has changed out there … that mistakes are still occurring that absolutely should not be,” said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, who said he is demanding answers from Townsend.

Dear Rep. Jerry Madden:

You cannot reform a culture of corruption, as demonstrated in TYC, as it is currently structured and operated. The system breeds sociopath predators, and it corrupts the morals of those who hold absolute power… that is power, without legislative review.

If you turn over a rock, Jerry, as I told you before, don’t be surprised at what you find. Mike Ward of the Statesman is my witness.

Shaquanda Cotton’s case is a cause celebre for African-Americans because people can see a direct line from the schoolhouse to the courthouse to the jailhouse for black youth, even a first time offender. At the end of the juvenile justice process is incarceration inside a TYC prison, which is now discovered as a sexual paradise for pedophile officials, who used their influence to lengthen or shorten juvenile sentences, who use intimidation against staff, exploit inmate-on-inmate violence and rape to promote their perverse sexual appetites.
[Source: Local News Finally Gives Shaquanda Cotton Front Page Status by Eddie Griffin, April 9, 2007]


TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007
Texas Corrections Guards Indicted for Felony Sexual Assault on Adolescent Detainees
By Eddie Griffin

The Shaquanda Cotton case brought sorely needed attention to other outrages in the Texas Youth Corrections system, now leading indictments of TYC guards on charges of felony sexual assault of adolescents who were in their charge.

Mike Ward of the Texas' Austin American Statesman reports:
Two former administrators at the West Texas youth lockup whose alleged attacks on incarcerated teen-aged boys ignited a statewide corruption scandal were indicted today on felony sexual assault charges.

Ray Brookins, 42, the former assistant superintendent of the West Texas State School, and John Paul Hernandez, 41, the school's former principal, were named by a Ward County grand jury in Monahans on 13 charges involving six students — who were ages 16 to 19 at the time of the alleged attacks.

If convicted, the men face a maximum 20 years in prison on each count, authorities said.

Investigators said Brookins, arrested by Texas Rangers at his apartment in Northeast Austin, was being held in the Travis County jail on $100,000 bail. Hernandez, arrested at his parents' home in Fort Stockton, was being held in lieu of $600,000 bail, officials said.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who assisted prosecutors from his office in presenting the case, hailed the indictments as a first step to justice in the headline-grabbing scandal.

"With today's indictments, the victims of sexual abuse at West Texas State School are a step closer to the justice they deserve," Abbott said in a statement. Calling the cases "very troubling," he pledged that his office will "continue working with state and local officials to aggressively pursue allegations of wrongdoing at Texas Youth Commission facilities." Statesman.com


The Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) blog and other Afrosphere blogs are determined to keep the pressure on the State of Texas to thoroughly review and reform the system that has condemned many Black youths to prison time exceeding their judge-made minimum sentences, while other detained adolescents were the targets of on-staff pedophiles whose sexual predation was ignored by the state and federal governments.

Dear Jerry,

The legislature needs to address the issue head-on. There are too many youth incarcerated in TYC over frivolous misdemeanors and minor property crimes, who are sent to prison and crippled for life.

Why? Because some prison warden and his hunting buddies want to turn these kids into their personal little sex kitten… Jerry, who do you tolerate this, when you clearly see what it was, and you have oversight charges?

Sincerely,
Eddie Griffin (BASG)


Inquiry widens into recent TYC sex assaults

Several boys who were sexually assaulted at a lockup had been double-bunked with youths accused of sex crimes, officials confirmed.

Inquiry widens into recent TYC sex assaults
By Mike Ward | Friday, January 9, 2009, 12:01 PM

Texas Youth Commission investigators are trying to determine why several incarcerated teenaged boys who were sexually assaulted at a Waco-area lockup had been double-bunked with other youths accused of sex crimes, officials confirmed this afternoon.

Cell assignments such as that should have been prohibited.

In one case, officials said, one of the youths with no sex-offense record was assaulted after being bunked with a boy with such a record.

According to a confidential update provided to legislative leaders earlier this week by TYC Executive Commissioner Cheri Townsend, five youth-on-youth sex assaults were reported. While two youths have since recanted in one case, the others remain under investigation.

Two have been referred to prosecutors, two are awaiting lab test results, according to the memo.

According to officials familiar with the cases, the youths involved are between 15 and 17 years old.

“Of the youth (alleged victims and perpetrators) involved in the five cases, one youth (an alleged perpetrator) had no previous record of sexual assaults,” Townsend’s memo states.

“It’s is being looked at — how that happened — and how policies and practices were being followed,” said agency spokesman Jim Hurley. “We have a full investigation underway.”

Other officials familiar with the criminal investigation said it has widened in recent days to determine how the mistakes occurred in November and December at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart, outside Waco — despite strict policies enacted after a sex-abuse scandal brought top-to-bottom reforms at the agency just two years ago.

Authorities also want to determine which Youth Commission officials signed off on the double-bunking, whether the agency’s new classification system failed in red-flagging the assignments and why the mistaken assignments were not discovered until after the youths reported being assaulted.

Investigators are also looking at whether agency officials did enough to prevent the assaults.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Hurley said he could discuss further details on instructions of top agency officials. No charges have been filed, he said.

Legislative leaders who have worked for two years on reforms at the troubled agency are hopping mad about the cases.

“It sounds like nothing has changed out there … that mistakes are still occurring that absolutely should not be,” said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, who said he is demanding answers from Townsend.

“This is unacceptable.”

Townsend listed several operational changes that have been made to ensure such mistakes don’t happen again, including a review of room assignments at all Youth Commission lockups, sexual-assault prevention training for staff and more frequent checks by staff on cells that are double-bunked.

The memo hints that a backlog of psychiatric exams at incarcerated teen-agers may have been a factor in the cases, and says that “intake staff have been directed to review the entire criminal and social histories of youth before making dorm and room assignments to ensure proper placement of youth who have committed sexual offenses,” the memo states.

The document also notes that the agency’s Safe Housing Policy is still awaiting approval, despite earlier public assurances by Youth Commission officials that it was in place.

Two years ago this spring, the agency made headlines for not properly investigating thousands of alleged sexual assaults over several years — youth-on-youth, youth-on-staff, staff-on-youth — amid allegations that top officials covered up repeated policy and criminal violations.

As a result, most of the agency’s top management was fired and it was placed in a form of receivership that ended only last October, after Gov. Rick Perry was assured that Legislature-mandated reforms had fixed a myriad of management and operational flaws.

Two former top officials at two lockups — Ray Brookins and John Paul Hernandez — were charged with having sex with several boys, and are awaiting trial. They were among more than two dozen onetime employees and others who faced criminal charges stemming from the thousands of assault allegations that were investigated.

10 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, but I read all of these stories of abuse in TYC, but I worked at Texas Youth Commission for over six years and I worked with dedicated staff and people that would never hurt these children. I saw inmates verbally abuse the staff and though at times it was difficult, i can honestly say, I never once saw staff abuse the kids in any way. I think that everyone is forgetting about the good people that are at Texas Youth Commission.

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  2. I worked at TYC for 10 1/2 years, until August 2007, and also did not see the egregious behavior alleged in the news reports and in your post. Every staff wasn't perfect, but the reporting has been way overblown for poliical reasons. Please remember the difference between allegations (complaints) and actual confirmations. Also remember that everything you read in the newspaper isn't accurate. I was there. You, Jerry Madden, and Jim Dunnam were not.

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  3. The tyc has a 120 year old culture of physical, mental, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. Anyone who denies it is part of the problem.
    Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s
    oldschool@ironguardiansnt.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. my son is considered a sex offender due to the crime he did 7 yrs ago and it was his first offense. he was 10 and the child was 7. he have been on probation for 2 yrs and since he didn't finish therapy they want to send him to TYC. he haven't had any other victims since the age 10. I don't think it is fair and I am terrified for him to go into TYC. he has no idea what jail is and how this could affect him for life they are talking about sending him on the 8th I don't know which TYC it is yet but I am so scared reading your report have me even scared...I tried to talk to his probation officer, his attorney, his therapist about his mental problem he has a learning disability that attends to make him not comprehend everything to well according to work..I feel this is going to affect his life for good..the system doesn't really know how this affects a child life especially if it was just there first offense..anyways..thanks for the report..it really help me to understand what is really going on in the TYC system. I have a face book I am going to add you to it..okay'

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  5. Diamonds, I am very troubled by the case of your son. Contact State Rep. Jerry Madden and State Sen. Wendy Davis, referred by Eddie Griffin. Your son should not have been branded as a sex offender at age 10.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 206th District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas; Cause No. C-542-07-D. Plaintiff Attorney - Arturo Cantu - (956) 668-1346.

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  8. I spent an unfortunate near three years in tyc, my mother had munchhoussens bi proxy, my father a pervert who raped me I tried to get help but judge whitten was too busy sending kids to help...tyc... I was 14 they mis classified me and lost my records classified and placed me as a vob giving me a year instead of nine months. They way over mediated me almost killed me with exercise torture and a lot or us including myself were verbally physically mentally emotionally and sexually abused. I was in Marlin corsecana and brownwood from early 2001 to late 2003. I had ptsd depression and other issued from being abused before and in tyc and I have issues that will last a lifetime. Tyc take your child ... after me causing a bit legal fuss despite being beat and starved and humiliated I was released on "special circumstances" to my abusive unstable mother who to my astonishment lit a joint in the parking lot as we were pulling out of the brownwood parking lot... I took it in my own hands to protect me.. I asked my po to live in Houston with my aunt and uncle. They didn't even have my file, never got it I've requested it but I assume it was filed in the grievance bin... you know the circular file the rest of us call a trash can. Fuck tyc thank god for the few angels in that help and god bless them. But tyc fucked my life and countless others I was innocent and spent two plus years there in misery. And for what?! Hope it burns to the ground they should use the insurance money to provide us all with therapy!!!!

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  9. I was in marlin back in 1998 was one of the youngest there was there for about 3 months and was in 3 different facilities and I can say that tyc turned my life around I was only 13 yrs old when I went in there and I never heard r seen anything like that all the staff there were very professional..

    ReplyDelete
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