Friday, February 23, 2007

TYC Director Dwight Harris to Resign?!

Big news at the Texas Youth Commission: Rumors are swirling that Executive Director Dwight Harris will tender his resignation on Monday. Nate Blakeslee breaks the story on the Texas Observer's blog:

One week after we broke the story of the sex abuse scandal at the West Texas State School in Pyote, Harris may have decided the fallout had become too much to handle. He is scheduled to appear before the Senate Criminal Justice committee on Tuesday to answer questions about his agency’s handling of the allegations of sex abuse, including what appeared to be an effort by the agency to cover up the scandal.

And there may be another unpleasant surprise in the offing: Yesterday the agency distributed a memo to elected officials warning that it had received a press inquiry into another incident of sex abuse, this one occurring in 2004-5 at the Ron Jackson State School in Brownwood, in Central Texas. According to the memo, a male staff member was found to have engaged in sexual relations with more than one inmate at the facility. He resigned when the agency began investigating, and no charges were ever filed, the memo said. As far as I can tell, this incident has never been covered in the media.

Harris’ possible resignation raises several questions, among them: 1) Who can the TYC board find to turn this troubled agency around, and 2) Who will field questions from Sen. Hinojosa and the Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday?
UPDATE: Blakeslee adds a postscript saying TYC has made it official.


Anonymous said...

Aside from the obvious, it troubles me that no charges have been filed and that the media so carefully avoided blasting this all over the headlines. Rest assured, if this was an everyday citizen of Texas that had sex with these children, he/she would have been ceremoniously tarred, feathered and convicted in the headlines. Hell, if some people had their way we would already have that person on death row!!

We, the state of Texas, have a serious double-standard problem when it comes to sex crimes. Law enforcement, in any capacity, seems to dodge the prison bullet when they commit sex crimes while the rest of society wallows in the confines of the local prison, often with a life sentence.

IF the allegations of sexual misconduct are indeed true, and if there were sexual performances done with or on these young charges of the state, then someone needs to stand trial and come under the hot seat of justice in Texas.

It is high time Texas put it's money where it's mouth is and handle arrests and convictions of these "sexual predators" just like they would if it were a normal citizen of Texas. If Texas wants to be tough on crime, Texas needs to get tough with state employees who break the law.

Anonymous said...

Beaurocratic waste. We see it in every government agency. It's the nature of the beast. You see it from big government all they way down to community home owners associations. Anytime you have money to spend, people will find a way to spend it.
Or not spend it. Apparently, the money has NOT been spent to properly run the TYC schools. It's no wonder. I would venture to say less the 20% of Texans have even ever heard of the TYC. And of those 20%, I bet less than 10% care what goes on behind those doors.
Here's the problem. These kids will be back! If we don't turn them around now, we will see them again. This time as adults and they will be back with a vengence.
How would you feel if you were sexually abused by people in the very agency assigned to rehabilitate you.
Shame on the TYC and shame on the people of Texas for letting these kids be forgotten.