Evans was found to be carrying a weapon and other prohibited items as she entered the Crockett State School, according to Susan Moynahan, the deputy ombudsman who served as interim director before Evans arrived. Evans was asked to leave the facility.Moynahan resigned Oct. 8 after telling Perry's office about the Beaumont episode. The ombudsman reports to the governor, not Youth Commission officials."Although it is unclear by your report what type of weapon you carried into the facility you reported that you intentionally brought contraband into a facility, which is a felony, and could have resulted in arrest and endangered the lives of youth and staff at that facility," Moynahan's resignation letter states. "In addition, to report this behavior within a site visit report would no doubt result in extremely negative repercussion" for the ombudsman's office.Moynahan told the American-Statesman she has been interviewed by Youth Commission investigators. "Carrying a weapon onto a correctional facility? This is insanity — not to mention it's a crime," she said. "If she was trying to test security, this is not how you do that. State employees are not above the law."Youth Commission Inspector General Chris Love did not return a message. But Townsend said she knew of no approved sting for Evans to test security.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Bizarro allegations against TYC Ombudsman center on contraband smuggling
Many readers have asked what I think about the bizarre story regarding Texas Youth Commission Ombudman Catherine Evans, a former juvenile court judge from Dallas who is under fire for smuggling contraband - allegedly including weapons, cash, a cell phone, and prescription drugs - onto TYC facilities. This was first reported while I was out of town and for the life of me I still can't figure out what was going on or why in heaven's name Judge Evans would do such an unabashedly stupid thing.
Evans claimed she was "testing" security at TYC units - she supposedly brought contraband onto 2 or 3 other units before she was caught at Crockett - but that's not the role of her office and it would be easy to document lax security without resorting to such methods. The previous ombudsman raised the same issue without engaging in those sort of grandstanding ploys. What was this woman was thinking?
One source told me one of the weapons was a knife (found at Crockett) and that she also allegedly brought a handgun onto another facility (which possibly was "fake," I was told). There was speculation by a different person that the drugs she allegedly brought onto facilities were "fake," and that investigators were having the substance tested. Quien sabe?
I was also told that the Inspector General's office is "very serious" about pursuing a case against Evans - that her explanation about "testing" security may not be enough to forestall her eventual prosecution. That'd be something, wouldn't it? It'd be amazing if they wound up prosecuting the Ombudsman, whose position was only created in 2007, before they prosecute TYC employees alleged to have sexually abused kids at the West Texas School. What a mess!
Mike Ward at the Austin Statesman had some interesting backstory regarding how this came to light:
So the deputy ombudsman ratted Evans out and resigned over this early last month! Perhaps Ms. Moynahan will get a chance to explain to a legislative committee at some future date exactly what's been going on behind the scenes at that office. (Certainly Judge Evans will, if she doesn't resign her position first.) There's a lot more to this story, one suspects, than has been revealed so far in media accounts.
RELATED: While it's true as mentioned above that the former TYC employees from the West Texas State School accused of sexual abuse have not been brought to trial, a former staffer from Brownwood was sentenced last week to 54 years for sexually assaulting three teenage girls at the Ron Jackson unit. According to the Abilene Reporter News, four other former TYC guards from Brownwood are currently facing felony charges.