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.