A former sheriff and several ex-jailers were among 17 people named Friday in a 106-count indictment on charges ranging from having sex with inmates to bringing them drugs at a now-closed county jail.
Former Montague County Sheriff Bill Keating was charged with official oppression and having sex with inmates, according to the indictment. Keating was defeated in a primary election last spring.
Several female jailers were charged with having sex with inmates and bringing them drugs, cell phones and cigarettes, while several male jailers were charged with drug possession and with bringing inmates banned items, according to the indictment.
Several inmates also were charged with drug possession, according to the indictment.
State District Judge Roger Towery has sealed the names in the indictments until the suspects are arrested, but their jobs and charges were made public.
Were there no non-corrupt employees to rat out all these alleged wrongdoers? How about the local District Attorney and other law enforcement agencies in the county? How could somebody not have known? Why did it take the feds coming in for somebody to investigate?
The Sheriff was allowed to finish out his term and was arrested immediately when his successor took office. If things were this bad, why was the situation tolerated by officialdom until then?
Though the Montague jail failed its last Jail Standards Commission inspection, state inspectors had no authority to fix the problem. Given that the agency is under "Sunset" review, doesn't this tell us the Texas Commission on Jail Standards needs more teeth and greater overt regulatory authority?
Finally, the DA has only charged Sheriff Keating with "official oppression and having sex with inmates," but not "sexual assault." Why not? After all, he coerced an informant into performing oral sex, according to the US Attorney, who said in a press release that,
Keating told L.M. that if she complied with his request, that he would help her get a job, a place to live and that she wouldn’t be criminally charged with possessing any drugs or drug-making equipment that was found in the home. Keating also told her that if she didn’t comply, she would go straight to jail.So, where's the sexual assault charge? By definition under Texas law, a sexual assault has occurred if "the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate." How is it that someone who's engaged in such behavior doesn't wind up on the sex offender registry?
What an astonishing nest of sleaze and corruption - more remarkable, still, because the Sheriff was allowed to complete his term before rooting it out.