Whistleblower says he saw sexual misconduct at Brownwood youth lockup
BROWNWOOD, Texas -- A former correctional officer at a Brownwood youth facility said he witnessed sexual misconduct between a juvenile male inmate and female employee.
This comes amid an ongoing investigation by the Texas Rangers into more than 300 complaints of alleged misconduct at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
KTXS isn't identifying the former prison employee because he still works in law enforcement and doesn't want to jeopardize his current job. But, the former TJJD employee said he spent two years working at the Ron Jackson State Correctional Complex from 2010 to 2012.
While he initially took the job to help juveniles, he said he soon became disillusioned after he saw his fellow co-workers breaking the rules, which were counterproductive in the youth's recovery.
"It's unbelievable, you know, what goes on," he said. "You cannot run these facilities from sitting behind a desk. You've got to be back there and see what's going on."
He said an impressionable experience was having witnessed a sexual encounter. He claimed to have seen a female juvenile correctional officer walking a youth to his detention cell by herself and then come out a few minutes later.
That young man would later ask about her to the other correctional officers with a grin.
"That tells it right there that something inappropriate went on between that youth and that female staff," he said. "And that troubles me."
TJJD issued a response to KTXS confirming there were investigation of sexual misconduct at the Ron Jackson facility from 2010 to 2012, but that none resulted in any criminal prosecutions.
Still, the agency is currently under fire and the Texas Rangers were asked by Gov. Greg Abbott to investigate 355 complaints, many of which are sexual misconduct allegations.
"We don't know what happened in that young person's life to get them into they trouble that they've gotten into," he said.
He said it's important juveniles get some form of rehabilitation once they're released.
Records were obtained by KTXS showing 50 employees at that facility were either fired or suspended since 2010.
In February, the Texas Rangers arrested four TJJD employees, including a former Ron Jackson correctional officer who was caught on video body slamming a juvenile.
Below is the full statement released by TJJD on the policies and procedures it has in place to prevent sexual misconduct from taking place.
• An extensive hiring protocol that involves a criminal history background check of each applicant
• Training for JCOs that covers maintaining healthy boundaries with youth
• Video camera monitoring at all facilities
• An Incident Reporting Center that operates a 24-hour hotline where youth, staff or any concerned parties can register a complaint
• TJJD’s Office of Inspector General investigates each and every criminal allegation reported
• Staff who are subject to these allegations are reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation
• A separate grievance system that allows youth to report to the Youth Rights Division (numbered and tracked grievance forms are located on every dorm as one mechanism for reporting)
• Every youth watches a video at intake and at arrival to a new campus about sexual safety
• The “never alone” policy, which calls for correctional officers to use body cameras or additional people when transporting youth to ensure staff and youth are never alone
• The Texas Rangers are currently reviewing 355 complaints, many of which are for sexual misconduct allegations, from September 2014 through August 2017 to examine thoroughness and completeness