Brownwood Mafia and TYC Scandal
Posted in the Brownwood Forum
#1 Mar 11, 2007
Q: Has anyone heard/read what The Brownwood Mafia thinks of the growing TYC Scandal ?
CENTRAL TEXAS LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION FISH FRY
Invitation Only Event
Honoring Texas Dept. Of Public Safety and COL. Tommy Davis
Hosted by Brownwood Mafia and Texas Youth Commission
Contact: Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce
#2 Mar 11, 2007
Friday February 2, 2007
Brownwood Bulletin Op Ed: Columnists
Perceptions and misconceptions about far-away places — Steve Nash
Folks who live elsewhere can sure have some interesting perceptions about a community.
May I cite an example? Just recently I was speaking with someone from out of town who represents what you would call, I suppose, a human rights organization.
“I hear law enforcement there can be pretty tough,” he said.“Is that true?”
“Can you be more specific?” I axed.“What do you mean by ‘pretty tough?’”
“I’ve heard they call themselves the Brownwood Mafia,” he said.
I told him Brownwood is really a pretty good community — not perfect, has its share of yahoos, yo-yos and yokels, like any community. But not a bad place.
#3 Mar 11, 2007
#4 Mar 11, 2007
#5 Mar 13, 2007
Go to link below (click on 03/12/07 10:06 a.m.- 1:45 p.m.) and fast forward to 43:20 to listen to Brownwood/Brown County DA's Testimony in Austin before the House Corrections Committee:
Excerpt of exchange between DA Murray and Rep. Haggerty regarding Brownwood and Brown County TYC Facilities. Haggerty says: " So this is the largest unit in the state, right ?--------- and it's just running so perfectly that nothing's happening out there -------- just checking ! "
Also note Brown County DA Murray testifying that he (his office) does not believe in giving jurisdiction (outsiders?) to the Attorney Generals Office on these cases !
From todays Brownwood Bulletin:
Tuesday March 13, 2007
Op Ed: Letters To The Editor
Get the feds involved in TYC investigation
To the editor:
I am appalled at the news stemming from TYC...not that a staff is suspected of having sex with students, nor that funds were misused by administrators. I am appalled that it has taken so long for anyone to do anything about it.
Having worked at TYC here in Brownwood for over 9 years, I have seen a lot of things that would have this community up in arms. I have even written to this very newspaper regarding these issues yet was ignored. I have seen many cases where sexual abuse was investigated, the officer terminated, but amazingly enough, criminal charges were never pursued. In many cases this is because the allegations are unproven or outright untrue.
This leads to a larger issue which is TYC’s treatment of its officers. Any officer at TYC will agree that they do not have to do anything wrong to get terminated. All it takes is for two or more “students” to say that an officer did something and the war is over! Leave the officers alone! 99.9 percent of them are simply trying to survive another day, or in TYC lingo,“Do my 8 and hit the gate.” The investigations should be involving people like Mrs. Stroud, and the administrators at the local campuses. Check the employee grievance system and you will find the real issues.
Also, how does it make sense for a state agency to investigate a state agency? That’s akin to the fox guarding the henhouse isn’t it? Get the feds involved!
#6 Mar 13, 2007
March 13, 2007, 1:51PM
TYC abuse cases sat collecting 'dust,' lawmaker says
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — A state lawmaker said Monday that the Texas Youth Commission's system for investigating abuse allegations and referring them to authorities is so inadequate that most of the cases have ended up in the records rooms of local police departments "to gather dust."
TYC says it has referred 6,600 cases of abuse and neglect to law enforcement agencies. The cases were initially investigated by civilian personnel with no law enforcement background, who then faxed notices to the records division of local police departments that the cases could not be confirmed and were closed.
Most of the cases languished in those records rooms, with no notice of their existence being given to local police investigators or district attorneys, according to 15 prosecutors who appeared before the House Corrections Committee on Monday.
Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, said TYC's system for investigating allegations of abuse and referring them to law enforcement agencies is inadequate because the agency does not use commissioned law enforcement officers "who know enough to make a case and collect evidence."
Madden said there is no way of knowing whether the thousands of cases that TYC investigated and declared closed were adequately investigated. And he said no outside investigator considered the cases because TYC sent them directly to police records departments where they were going to "gather dust."
'Some nebulous letter'
Brown County District Attorney Michael Murray said neither he nor the criminal investigators in the Brownwood Police Department were aware any TYC reports were on file until members of the news media raised questions about why he and other district attorneys were not prosecuting cases.
"We have these civilians who are conducting their investigations.... Then they send some nebulous letter to the records division of our local police department," he said.
Murray said one 2005 case of sexual abuse by a corrections officer on a female youth was first referred to his office for prosecution on March 2.
That is the same day the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that a male corrections officer in 2005 obtained sex from four girls at the Ron Jackson Unit in Brownwood in exchange for favors.
Murray said another report of a confirmed case of staff being terminated for sexual contact with a youth at Ron Jackson was not a prosecutable offense. He said the man gave girls pizza in exchange for kisses, but he said kissing between a guard and an inmate is not prohibited by state law.
read entire report here:
#7 Mar 13, 2007
#8 Mar 13, 2007
Senate Panel Votes To Fire TYC Board
(March 13, 2007)--A key state Senate panel voted Tuesday to fire the board of directors of the troubled Texas Youth Commission.
It's the latest display of disgust with the board of directors of the TYC, which was appointed by the governor.
Some legislators have been eager to replace the board as the state investigates allegations of sexual abuse of juvenile inmates and a possible cover-up by employees.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved a bill that would eliminate the section of the state law that created the board and then immediately replace it.
The bill by Senator Chris Harris of Arlington would prohibit Gov. Rick Perry from reappointing the current board members.
It’s the latest development in an escalating scandal.
Authorities said Monday they are looking into about 300 new inmate complaints of abuse within Texas Youth Commission facilities.
About 70 of those complaints involve sexual contact.
read entire story here: http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/6469047.ht...
#9 Mar 14, 2007
From The Abilene Reporter News:
On the chopping block
Senate panel votes to fire Texas Youth Commission board
By Associated Press
March 14, 2007
AUSTIN - In another display of disgust with the governor-appointed board of directors of the troubled Texas Youth Commission, a key Senate panel voted Tuesday to fire and replace them.
Although a separate panel had given the seven-member board a vote of no confidence last week, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved by a 6-0 vote a bill that would eliminate the section of the state law that created the board, then immediately replace it with a new governor-appointed board.
The bill by Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington, would prohibit Gov. Rick Perry from reappointing the current board members.
''When you gotta go, you gotta go,'' said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.
''I'd rather feel like the guillotine is falling,'' Harris said.
The bill would take immediate effect if approved by two-thirds of 31 members of the Senate and the 150 members of the House of Representatives. It could get a full Senate vote as early as today.
State lawmakers have been eager to replace the board as the state investigates allegations of sexual abuse of juvenile inmates and a possible cover-up by employees.
The Texas Youth Commission incarcerates about 2,700 offenders ages 10 to 21 who are considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic.
Perry has already appointed Jay Kimbrough as special master to oversee the investigation and ordered Ed Owens, the agency's new acting executive director, to develop a rehabilitation plan to solve problems it finds.
Kimbrough and Owens are scheduled to give lawmakers an update today. Perry spokesman Ted Royer said they should be given time to do their work.
''Jay Kimbrough and the new management team at TYC have changed the agency's course dramatically in a few short days. They are making clear progress and their efforts should be given time to work,'' Royer said.
On Monday, Kimbrough said investigators are looking into about 300 new inmate claims of abuse within the agency.
At last week's meeting of a special committee on the expanding youth commission scandal, board members claimed they didn't know about many of the abuse allegations that sparked the inquiry and that they didn't have time in their meetings to categorically address reports of abuse.
Board Chairman Don Bethel insisted the board did the best it could with the information made available, and the board members said they would not resign.
Of local note
Steve Fryar of Brownwood, vice president of P.F.&E. Oil Co., was appointed to the Texas Youth Commission board in February 2002 by Gov. Rick Perry. He was reappointed for a second term in July 2006.
He also is a former Republican nominee for state representative and is a member of several boards in Brownwood such as the Brown County United Way, Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and Brownwood Kiwanis Club.
The Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood was investigated last week by representatives of several state offices, including Texas Rangers. The Brownwood Police Department has turned over its investigation of sexual abuses that allegedly took place in 2003 and 2004 to the Brown County district attorney. A Brown County grand jury will consider whether to indict a former adult supervisor early in April, Superintendent Teresa Stroud said.
read more TYC Coverage here: www.reporternews.com
#10 Mar 14, 2007
" Mr. Steve Fryar thanked the Chairman and said that he appreciated the hard work the staff has accomplished and the materials provided by the staff for each Board meeting. He said that on September 2, the Brownwood Mafia sponsored their annual Central Texas Law Enforcement Fish Fry. Some of the past speakers at this annual event were President George Bush when he was Governor of Texas, Governor Perry, and numerous past Governors and heads of state. Mr. Fryar said that this year TDCJ was honored and he was pleased to see representation from the Texas Youth Commission."
#11 Mar 14, 2007
March 14, 2007, 7:47PM
Gov: Texas youth prison board resigning
By JIM VERTUNO Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas — The board members of the embattled Texas Youth Commission, which has faced criticism after allegations that young inmates were sexually abused by staff, will resign Friday, the governor's office said.
The surprise announcement came after the state Senate voted unanimously to fire and replace the board that oversees the youth prison system.
The seven-member board is scheduled to meet Friday to approve an agency rehabilitation plan. Once it is approved, the board members are expected to resign, Gov. Rick Perry's office said in a statement. Perry's office said it had a phone conversation with each member of the board Wednesday.
Several members of the special legislative committee looking into the scandal applauded when they heard the news, then were angered when they learned the board would still meet Friday.
"This board needs to cease to exist," said committee co-chairman Sen. John Whitmire, a Democrat. "Those folks are tainted. We don't need them approving any future (agency) plan."
The Texas Youth Commission incarcerates about 2,700 offenders ages 10 to 21 who are considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic. Late last month, lawmakers questioned agency staff about a 2005 investigation that found evidence officials at the West Texas State School in Pyote had repeated sexual contact with some of the 250 inmates. An internal investigation found prison staff members had complained about the abuse but that no one took action for more than a year.
Board Chairman Don Bethel could not immediately be reached for comment at his home Wednesday, and the other board members did not respond to messages and e-mails left at their homes and work.
If the board does resign, leadership of the system is uncertain. Perry proposed replacing the board with a single full-time commissioner, but Whitmire dismissed that proposal and said the board needs citizen oversight.
Also Wednesday, a former Texas Youth Commission employee was arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted an adult inmate when he worked at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Barry Ransberger was under investigation when he left the department in 2005 and took a job in 2006 at the youth commission's facility in Brownwood. Youth Commission spokesman Jim Hurley said officials don't know why he was allowed to be hired at the agency. Ransberger left the commission within a few months; his resignation cited an inability to get along with his supervisor.
A number listed for a Barry Ransberger in Coleman, Texas, was not in service.
read story here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation...
Outrageous. Does anyone out there think that this TYC Board has the credibility to "approve an agency rehabilitation plan" ? Obviously Perry thinks it's a grand idea ! Brownwood, Brownwood, Brownwood
#12 Mar 14, 2007
" The following month the committee visited the TYC facilities in Brownwood and San Saba, both of which have played prominent roles in recent TYC coverage. "
#13 Mar 14, 2007
Texas Youth Commission board to quit
Move comes after Senate voted to remove board.
By Mike Ward
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
State officials announced this evening that the Texas Youth Commission board is expected to resign en masse Friday. The resignation is expected after board members meet to approve a rehabilitation plan that is being drafted by the Youth Commission's acting executive director, Ed Owens, according to a statement from Gov. Rick Perry's press office. After the board steps down, Perry could appoint a new board or allow Owens to run the agency by himself.
The resignation announcement came after Perry's aides proposed to senators that the Youth Commission board be replaced by a juvenile corrections czar, whom he would appoint.
Then, the Senate rejected the idea and — in an unusual public rebuke of Perry — unanimously approved a bill to immediately fire the governing board.
"This is an extraordinary action, but this board needs to go, and it needs to go now," said Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington. "The fact that the current board was there when this scandal occurred is reason alone for this."
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas said, "We are acting to protect the children of Texas."
Under Senate Bill 1921, the current board would be abolished and replaced by a board to be appointed by Perry. None of the current members could serve on the new board.
"This board knew there were problems, and they never took any action," said Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
Debate on the measure took 15 minutes. The vote was 29-0.
The bill also would need to pass the House and be signed by the governor. If Perry vetoes the bill, lawmakers potentially could override him.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he has been told by House leaders that the bill "has a lot of support in the House.... I would anticipate passage there."
read entire article here: http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/...
#14 Mar 14, 2007
Former TYC employee arrested in sex assault case
05:04 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 14, 2007
By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN – A former Texas Youth Commission employee was arrested Wednesday on allegations he sexually assaulted an inmate at an adult prison where he worked before being hired by the TYC last year.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs adult prisons, opened the investigation into then-Lt. Barry Ransberger in 2005 amid reports that he had sexually assaulted an inmate at the Middleton Unit near Abilene. He quit during the investigation and was somehow hired by the TYC’s Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood in June 2006, TYC spokesman Jim Hurley said.
Lt. Ransberger, who left the TYC in October 2006, citing disagreements with his boss, did not have a disciplinary record at TYC unit, Mr. Hurley said. His arrest in Brown County on Wednesdsay was the result of the criminal justice department’s investigation.
“What we want to know is, how in the world did this gentleman come to be employed by TYC?” Mr. Hurley said.“You wouldn’t think it would be too hard to check, would you?”
read more here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/d...
#15 Mar 14, 2007
March 14, 2007, 6:44PM
Entire TYC board will resign Friday
By LISA SANDBERG and R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN — The entire Texas Youth Commission board will resign on Friday after approving a rehabilitation plan for the agency, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry said today.
The rehabilitation plan is to be presented by Ed Owens, the acting executive director, said Perry spokesman Ted Royer.
Earlier today, the Senate voted 30-0 to oust the board. Lawmakers have been trying to force out the six sitting board members, saying they failed to provide proper oversight as widespread reports began surfacing that incarcerated juveniles were being sexually and physically abused by staff.
The bill passed by the Senate now goes to the House, where it appears to have overwhelming support.
In another development, a former state prison guard who was indicted last week, accused of sexually assaulting an adult male inmate, managed to land a job working with juveniles at the Texas Youth Commission, agency officials said this morning.
Barry Ransberger, who was arrested this morning in Brown County, resigned from the Texas prison system's Middleton Unit outside Abilene in November 2005 amid a sexual abuse investigation. Between his resignation and his indictment, Ransberger landed a job at the Ron Jackson state juvenile facility in Brownwood, some 70 miles away.
"It's very disturbing that if he was being investigated by (the Texas Department of Criminal Justice), he was somehow able to get a job at TYC," said TYC spokesman Jim Hurley. "I don't know (how it happened) but I'll find out."
Hurley said it wasn't immediately clear what job Ransberger held at the juvenile facility.
The Ron Jackson facility is the center of another sex abuse scandal. On Tuesday, the Brown County district attorney said he would present to a grand jury the case of a former correctional officer there who allegedly had sex with four girls inside a prison supply closet over many months beginning in 2003.
TYC is reeling from accusations that juveniles at its facilities across the state have been sexually and physically abused by staff and that top agency officials have covered up the reports.
More than 70 investigators were sent to all TYC facilities last week to root out anyone who may have preyed on juveniles or who may have protected those who did. Though he resigned his position at TYC in October, Ransberger was interviewed by one or more of those investigators yesterday.
His background was checked, and he was arrested this morning.
#16 Mar 16, 2007
March 16, 2007, 4:04AM
Justice letter orders TYC youth facility fixed
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — A South Texas juvenile corrections facility run by the Texas Youth Commission is so "chaotic and dangerous" that it violates the constitutional rights of the youth incarcerated there, the U.S. Justice Department told state officials Thursday.
Youth-on-youth assaults at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg are five times the national average, the report said, and in one instance last year a corrections officer tried to subdue an unruly youth by pushing his eyes "back into his face."
A 14-page letter from Justice officials to Gov. Rick Perry detailed repeated patterns of violence that injured both youths and corrections officers at Evins. The report said the facility is poorly designed, insufficiently staffed and has corrections officers who are poorly trained.
The letter said if the problems are not fixed within 49 days, the department's Civil Rights Division may file suit against Texas to bring the facility into compliance.
There were 187 males in the Evins unit Thursday. Of those, 44 were from Harris County; 31 from Bexar; 13 from Hidalgo; and 10 each from Cameron and Travis counties.
The report hit the state on the eve of the planned mass resignation of the TYC governing board. The six sitting members are scheduled to submit their resignations today after approving a "rehabilitation" plan for the agency drafted by acting Executive Director Ed Owens.
Perry agreed to the resignation of his board appointees Wednesday after the Senate passed a bill to abolish the board and the House cast a procedural vote in support.
Perry spokesman Ted Royer said Owens' rehabilitation plan will address all of the Justice Department's concerns.
State Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, said the Justice Department investigation was prompted by a complaint filed last year by juvenile justice advocates.
Hinojosa said the Senate Criminal Justice Committee found many of the same problems when it investigated the facility last year, but he said the TYC leadership tried to downplay what was happening.
"A lot of this was covered up by management in Austin," Hinojosa said. "Every time we would question them, they would lie to us and tell us everything is all right."
Hinojosa said the problems at Evins can be found in every TYC unit in the state.
In fact, the special team investigating TYC facilities arrested a juvenile corrections officer Thursday at the Ron Jackson Unit in Brownwood. Dusty R. Ogle, 47, a TYC employee with nine years of service, was charged with tampering with a government document, official oppression and aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, said TYC spokesman Jim Hurley.
Hurley said the arrest stemmed from a March 6 altercation in which a corrections officer used excessive force against a female inmate and altered a use-of-force report.
read entire article here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/463...
#17 Mar 16, 2007
State faulted for violence at facility
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 16, 2007
Our investigation revealed an unacceptably high rate of violence
One day before the acting chief of the Texas Youth Commission is to deliver his recommendations to rehabilitate the scandal-plagued agency, a federal investigation into violence at a South Texas facility concluded that the state was failing to protect the 200-plus inmates assigned to the unit.
'Our investigation revealed an unacceptably high rate of violence' at the Evins juvenile center in Edinburg, the U.S. Justice Department report said.'The atmosphere at Evins is chaotic and dangerous. Youth frequently fight with each other without detection or intervention by staff.'
The federal investigation came after a spate of violence last year, including a cafeteria riot. The juvenile center was expanded in 1997 to accommodate 240 young male offenders, up from about 50.
The violence did not appear to be related to the reports of rampant sexual abuse of young inmates at several other youth commission facilities. But the Justice Department's findings track many of the complaints delivered to a special legislative committee that for the past three weeks has been examining conditions at the agency that houses about 4,700 young offenders.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Youth Commission reported that a correctional officer at the juvenile detention center in Brownwood was arrested on charges of assaulting a female inmate and causing her serious bodily harm. The charges against Dusty R. Ogle, 37, also include official oppression and tampering with a government document.
Agency spokesman Jim Hurley said the tampering charge stems from an attempt to falsify the use-of-force report for the March 6 incident.
read entire report here: http://www.topix.com/content/kri/184862503508...
#18 Mar 17, 2007
Brownwood youth prison officer accused of using excessive force
By Sidney Levesque / [email protected]
March 17, 2007
A corrections officer at the Texas Youth Commission facility in Brownwood is facing charges of using excessive force on a 17-year-old female inmate and lying about it in a follow-up report.
A Texas Ranger arrested Dusty Ogle, 47, Thursday on four charges related to a March 6 incident that left the teenager with four stitches in her chin.
A guard who witnessed the incident reported that Ogle used excessive force on the girl even though she did not pose a threat to herself or others, said Jim Hurley, TYC spokesman.
Ogle was charged with one count of aggravated assault by a public servant causing severe bodily injury, two counts of tampering with a governmental record, and one count of official oppression.
Hurley said Ogle allegedly falsified the use-of-force report he filed after the incident.
Ogle, who lives in Comanche, was released from Brown County Jail the same day he was arrested after posting $30,000 bail. He has been suspended from his job since March 8 pending an investigation into the allegations, Hurley said.
The corrections officer has worked for TYC since 1998. He has a record of disciplinary action against him, but this latest complaint is the first to allege anything physical, Hurley said.
Ogle could not be reached for comment Friday.
The arrest was the second this week related to the Brownwood facility that houses juveniles for the Texas Youth Commission. The TYC has come under fire statewide for allegations of abuse and hiring employees with criminal backgrounds.
On Wednesday, a former employee of the Brownwood facility was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting an adult inmate in 2005 while he worked at the Middleton Unit outside Abilene.
Barry Ransberger left the prison, which houses adult males, and was hired in June 2006 to oversee juvenile females at the Youth Commission facility in Brownwood. He worked there five months and quit.
Of local note
Steve Fryar of Brownwood is among the Texas Youth Commission board members who resigned Friday. Fryar, vice president of P.F. & E. Oil Co., was appointed to the board in 2002 by Gov. Rick Perry. He did not return multiple messages seeking comment this week.
read entire report here: http://www.reporter-news.com/abil/nw_local/ar...
#19 Mar 17, 2007
Board votes for reforms, resigns
By JOHN MORITZ
STAR-TELEGRAM AUSTIN BUREAU
Bowing to pressure from lawmakers, and finally from Gov. Rick Perry, the six remaining members of the Texas Youth Commission's governing board resigned Friday amid reports of widespread sexual abuse of young inmates in state custody.
They resigned after a nearly monthlong drumbeat for accountability as reports of staff members engaging in sex with offenders, cover-ups by top-ranking officials and out-of-control violence at youth commission facilities dominated the news out of Austin since late February.
"I'm just disappointed that we had to push them for so long before they were willing to do what they needed to do and step aside," said state Sen. Chris Harris, the Arlington Republican who is spearheading legislation to abolish the board and revamp the youth commission.
read entire report here: http://www.dfw.com/226/story/39725.html
#20 Mar 17, 2007
" So we got rid of the useless board, made up of Perry cronies, and replaced it with a single crony who is beholden only to the Governor. Is it just me, or is anyone else not impressed by that?"
read entire report here: http://www.offthekuff.com/mt/archives/009027....
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