Saturday, March 10, 2007

Settled lawsuit alleged TYC's Ed Owens covered up sex abuse scandal at TDCJ!

So you're Texas Governor Rick Perry. The Texas Youth Commission is in the middle of a sex scandal that your advisers are telling you is only going to get worse. What do you do?

I'll tell you what Governor Perry did: He appointed a man to run the agency for whom the state last year paid to settle allegations in a civil suit that he (and others) ignored sexual harassment complaints from subordinates at his old employer, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Holy Mother of God, who is advising the Governor on TYC?

Thanks to Terry Pelz, a former Texas prison warden who runs TexasJustice.org, for forwarding this pdf of a complaint by two women against former TDCJ gang expert Salvador "Sammy" Buentello. It's from a civil suit that was settled by TDCJ last year for an undisclosed amount (see the plea bargain from Buentello's criminal case, also from TexasJustice.org). The portion of the complaint alleging that newly appointed TYC chief Ed Owens participated in the coverup of Buentello's misconduct is on pages 4 and 5:
Defendant Owen was told specifically about the sexually harrassing and assaultive conduct of Buentello in late 1999 or early 2000 by TDCJ employee Allyson Glass. Beard told Glass that they needed help handling Buentello, and Glass told her that she had spoken to Defendant Owen, that he had known about the sexual harassment, and that he said that he could not do anything unless the victims filed complaints with EEO. ... Immediately prior to Beard giving her statement to OIG, Glass begged her not to report that she or Defendant Owen knew about the harassment, or they would lose their jobs. Defendant Owen also had knowledge of the sexual harassment and sexually hostile work environment created by Buentello, because he was put on notice of the long history of sexual harassment and retaliation by Buentello by the EEO because the multiple women filed EEO claims alleging sexual harassment and retaliation by Buentello. Defendant Owen received copies of the disposition of these cases from the EEO.
Go read the whole thing, if you've a mind to, but for Owens, husband of parole board chief Rissie Owens and the former #2 man at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the immediate import of the Buentello case lies in whether he ignored pleas of his subordinates.

Is the Owens family holding one of Gov. Perry's family members hostage somewhere that Rissie gets to run the parole board and her husband, Ed, now gets to run TYC despite the history alleged above? Hell, Owens thinks TYC's safety problems are already fixed. At least mismanagement of Texas' criminal justice system is being kept all in the family!

I don't know if this document is a "smoking gun" against new TYC chief Ed Owens, i.e., if it's enough to get him fired so soon after he was appointed. It might be, in the current environment.

In any event it's certainly an allegation that he and others at TDCJ covered up a sex scandal - allegations that TDCJ answered with a cash payment instead of a public defense in court. We don't know from this document what Owens did in response to the complaints he received from subordinates, and it sounds from my sources like this was settled before it reached the discovery phase.

Since the case was settled, Owens will never be called to account through this legal action. But it seems like, if Governor Perry was going to order TYC to appoint someone, he'd have picked somebody about whom TDCJ hadn't just settled a lawsuit alleging he'd covered up a sex scandal!

This might turn out to be a clumsier political move than the friggin HPV vaccine. We'll see. Anyway, thanks to Mr. Pelz at TexasJustice.Org for responding to my request for more information about the case.

MORE

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, TexasJustice.org is a great place to get the latest scoop on TDCJ and what is happening inside. Pelz runs a good site and mildly monitors his message board.

Damn, Perry just jumps from the frying pan into the fire with his high and mighty appointments. I'm telling you, that damn hair must be causing him to have vapor lock of the brain!

The Ed~Rissie Dumb and Dumber Duo is beginning to wear thin on my nerves. At what point can a tax paying citizen of this state who DID NOT vote for Perry get a break? Frankly, I am tired of paying the salary of these two people. The Parole Board is the biggest mess I've ever seen. There is no rhyme or reason to their decisions as is evidenced by the recent set-offs given to offenders at the Ellis Unit. We are talking OLD men who got anywhere from 1 to 3 years set offs. We get to pay their medical bills in the meantime. I'd be curious if anyone even looked at their records before giving the set offs. Always remember this....THE SPEED OF THE TEAM IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE SPEED OF THE LEADER. If Rissie is the leader, God help this state.

Then we have the other half of the D & D Duo....Mr. Ed. (No, not the horse.) As evidenced by this article, the people of Texas get to pay lawsuits to cover his coverup. Now we are to trust him with the TYC scandal? Hasn't he already shown us his vast experience and how adept he is at covering things up? I wonder what this one is going to cost us but you can bet it will cost something.

In closing, it might be time for Perry to rethink (think being the operative word) these appointments. I would prefer to pay severance pay to the D & D Duo and get people in the positions that will get the job done right. Any thoughts on that??

Patrick Timmons said...

And to think that the Texas House has just voted to expand the death penalty!

If officials in Texas can't even follow guidelines and rules to administer punishment for prisoners, adult and juvenile alike, what hope is there that they can administer the ever-creaking and straining machinery of death?

Instead, what I've been reading about are preening politicos who evince outrage about the possibility of sexual offenses with children and vote to expand the death penalty, but do nothing, but nothing, to stop the abuse of those in the care of the state?

What gives Texas? Que pinche desmadre. Por verguenza.

sunray's wench said...

I think there is another aspect to this: those who bring complaints should have a LOT more encouragement to NOT settle out of court. Drag these people through every damned court you have until someone starts paying attention at the top, otherwise it is just going to keep happening because the perpetrators will keep saying there is no precident for action. You have a court system ~ use it.

Anonymous said...

It would be TOO funny if this story wound up on the front page of the Statesman! Shame on me, but I think I'd just wet myself laughing! Texas politics just leaves me shocked, horrified, and laughing out loud.

Anonymous said...

Adult Probation has some of the same problems with officers having sex with probationers for community service hours or to erase a violation of probation. Then some officers are charged and some are not? Some officers get arrested after they are hired and the department never knows? Grits do an open records in Bexar County Adult Probation on officers that have been arrested and officers having alleged or factual sexual relations with probationers. Then you will see it extends into all of TDCJ.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I hope it makes the front page of the Statesman. Don't you think it should?!

Would it just be funny because it came from a blog? Or because it's an unbelieeeeevably stupid move? I'd understand the latter. ;)

Anonymous said...

i recently left tdcj, and was in a position to know what buentello was doing,his victims, and that everyone from the director down also knew. had i caught him in the act i would have turned him in, don't think that some of us didn't try. the problem is that the administration was of the opinion that he was too valuable with his gang empitre to risk losing over something as trivial as raping female employees. the continuing problem of ed, rissie and don't forget pam williams is that the governor wants black administrators for these agencies, and that as a result, they have a free rein to do anything they want with impunity. so in essence governor perry is aware of the horrible mis-management of the tdcj, and billions of tax payer dollars, but these agency heads are too important to his agenda to worry about little things like the rape of employees, and the public also.

Slick said...

Since Pelz don't have the ballz to respond, I'll just post this here...

Your header
Posted by retired2004 on March 16, 2007, 9:10 am

Terry; Did I miss something concerning your header above your msg board? I'm just a dumb old country boy; could you explain who or what this is in reference to? Thanks.

Re: Your header
Posted by TJDO on March 16, 2007, 9:34 am, in reply to "Your header"
Board Administrator

It's in reference to a person who's lost their way and allowed others to influence their moral compass in a negative way by lying. It happens when people are pressured by higher ups. A couple of us helped this person through some very rough patches in their life and now they justify their actions by throwing a red herring into the works. They know who they are.


Re: Your header
Posted by Slick on March 16, 2007, 11:49 am, in reply to "Re: Your header"

And just what is your basis of fact in the above statement?

Do you have proof that this person "lost their way and allowed others to influence their moral compass in a negative way by lying"

Are you calling this person a liar?

Can you prove this person was pressured by higher ups? Who are they? Can you name them?

You stated that you and others helped this person thru rough times...

Did you really help this person or did they just provide fodder for a possible new book?

How did this person throw a red herring into the works? What works? Does this person have the power to do this?

As I read your statement, two words come to mind...Libel and Slander.

I suggest that without proof, you might want to retract that statement as "Those that know who they are" also are aware now of how low you can go.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Regardless of opinions expressed in an email, the header quotes directly from the allegations in the complaint from the settled lawsuit linked in the post. Offhand, I doubt the email you quoted from Pelz constitutes libel or slander since he didn't name anybody in it. But the allegations referenced in the blog post were made not by Pelz, though he provided the documents, or by me for that matter, but in a lawsuit alleging TDJC covered up the Buentello case. That the suit was ultimately settled for an undisclosed amount with taxpayer dollars, IMO, makes it fair game for discussion.

I don't it slanders anybody to question whether, given this recent history, Mr. Owens was the right person to put in charge of an agency that's just gone through a coverup of an alleged sex scandal. best,

Slick said...

How can you say that the header quotes are from allegations?They are taken directly from his website.

Pelz knew exactly what he was doing & who he was doing it to when he posted the OMG!! header and embedded a "Help me Rhonda" midi.

I also posted a reply ( which you now have a copy of )but Pelz hasn't the ballz to post it.

This has nothing to do with the drivel that you posted.

Get your head out of Pelz's a$$ & smell the roses.

Slick said...

All I asked was Pelz to answer a few simple questions as you can plainly see by my first post.

Did you even bother to read my first post?...I think not or you wouldn't have gone off on some other tangent.

Who are you and what is your purpose in life?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Your few simple questions don't seem to have a referent. They don't apply to the "header" he put over the Owens allegations, so I honestly don't know what you're talking about, Slick. Maybe you should link to what you're referencing if it's not the header under the MORE link above. Otherwise, your comments don't make much sense.

Also, my bio is posted permanently in the sidebar. A better question is who are you, Slick.

Slick said...

Let me give you a step by step...

1.Go to tjdo and click on "Message Board"

2.Do you see (in BIG BOLD letters)
OMG!!!
WHO GOT TO YOU?
Holy Mother of God!Haven't you learned anything?

DO YOU SEE THAT?

3. Scroll down to the thread titled "Your header"

DO YOU SEE THAT?

4. Click on it & read the post by "retired2004"

DID YOU READ IT?

5. Now click on "Re: Your header" by TJDO

DID YOU READ IT?

I posted this reply which Pelz NEVER let post

Re: Your header
Posted by Slick on March 16, 2007, 11:49 am, in reply to "Re: Your header"

And just what is your basis of fact in the above statement?

Do you have proof that this person "lost their way and allowed others to influence their moral compass in a negative way by lying"

Are you calling this person a liar?

Can you prove this person was pressured by higher ups? Who are they? Can you name them?

You stated that you and others helped this person thru rough times...

Did you really help this person or did they just provide fodder for a possible new book?

How did this person throw a red herring into the works? What works? Does this person have the power to do this?

As I read your statement, two words come to mind...Libel and Slander.

I suggest that without proof, you might want to retract that statement as "Those that know who they are" also are aware now of how low you can go.

ARE WE ON THE SAME FRIGGING PAGE NOW?

Be very careful when dealing with Pelz...He's already using you and your blog for his own agenda...Feeding you info that he's too skeered to put on his own page.

Pelz needs to get a "real" job and quit feeding off of his wife.

As for me you ask "Who am I?"...I'm just an honest man armed to the teeth with facts not bullshit.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Okay, I see it, Slick - I didn't realize your comment didn't relate at all to anything i'd written. You kind of hijacked this thread, but that's okay. On the libel front, since he didn't name the person I doubt it would make the cut, and of course depending on the facts, truth is a defense. But the rest of your comments would have to be answered by Pelz.

As for having my head up Pelz's ass, I hardly know the man. I'd have written the same post no matter who gave me those documents, and in fact in a separate post mentioned that a reporter needed to do a courthouse search to look for them. The fact that he had them in his possession and sent them to me is appreciated, but hardly means I take every word he says as gospel.

That said, now that we're on the same page, I have two questions: What is "drivel" about this post and what do you think Pelz's "agenda" is anyway?

Slick said...

"If you listen long enough, a persons words WILL deceive them".

Just so you know what kind of POS Pelz REALLY is...Look on his message board for the rthread "Hey Slick" by Anywayyyyy.

That is Pelz at his best or should I say worst.

If he were a man, he would have posted my reply and answered the questions instead of sinking to an all time low, even for him.

What he posted is not the truth or even close to it...He knows it and "Those who are in the know" know it also.

You ask what Pelz's agenda is...In a word REVENGE...

Revenge against Sammy for taking the ball THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM by Pelz, Denner, Ching & Franco and running with it.Thus putting Sammy in the limelight and Pelz out in the cold.

REVENGE against an agency that made Sammy their darling that could do no wrong.

Now it's REVENGE against aginst one of the victims because she HAS NOT LIED and WILL NOT LIE to discredit Ed Owens.

The reason for our displeasure is that it has been 3 years since Sammy was forced out of TDCJ...1 year since justice was finally served and the victims were vindicated.

How many people over at the BOT breathed a sigh of relief once Sammy was gone?...How many sleep better at night knowing Sammy is gone?...How many do not have to be afraid to be there after 6 now that Sammy is gone?

The wounds left by Sammy will never be healed, just a permanent scab to mark the place in history.

Do you not think for an instant that given the opportunity to go back that we all (including Sammy)wouldn't have done something different?

Pelz wanted this victim to verify as fact all these half truths and hearsays that were posted in court documents,and yes, a matter of public record, some of which this victim has NEVER seen, and when she refused...well...Now it's a personal attack against me.

His board speaks volumes as to type of vindictive bitch he really is. And no longer someplace that I care to frequent.

I'd like to thank you for allowing me to post on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Rhonda, we know who you are. Spent all that money, have you?