Allegations of sexual abuse have rocked the North Texas town of Haltom City. The allegations surfaced in March, 2001, when a Fort Worth woman filed a complaint with the Haltom City police stating that jailer Clint Wade Weaver, 22, coerced her into having sex with him by threatening to accuse her of escape. Weaver resigned April 12, 2001, and was arrested in June of 2001.
In March 2002, Weaver pleaded guilty to official oppression, received two years probation, and was required to register as a sex offender.
On August 30, 2002, three women filed a federal civil rights suit against Weaver accusing him of promising them early release in exchange for sex. According to the suit, Weaver watched a woman (who was being held on unpaid traffic tickets) undress in a jail restroom on September 4, 2000. Weaver moved her to a break room and ordered her to perform a sex act on him. He then threatened her if she told anyone about it.
In November, 2000, Weaver allegedly ordered a 25-year-old Weatherford woman being held on outstanding traffic warrants to perform sex acts on herself before he would let her use the phone. He later ordered her to perform a sex act on him in exchange for early release.
On March 14, 2001, Weaver allegedly offered early release in exchange for sex to a 29-year-old Fort Worth woman who was being held on traffic violations. She only had sex with him after he threatened to accuse her of escape if she refused. She reported the incident to the Haltom City Police.
After Weaver was sentenced, two other women made similar reports to Haltom City police complaining that Weaver threatened them and offered early release in exchange for sex. On September 12, 2002, three more women joined the suit against Weaver, which was amended to include additional unidentified Haltom City jailers and police officers. The lawsuit also alleged that the jailer's and police used jail security cameras to observe women prisoners undress, shower, and use the toilet.
Affidavits filed by Weaver in federal court claim that a culture of rampant sexual abuse and degradation existed at the jail and that the police chief, assistant police chief, jail administrator, and Municipal Judge Jack Byno were involved, observing female prisoners in various states of undress using security cameras and making sexually charged comments about them and their body parts. Weaver also claims he was "never advised that incarcerated persons could not consent to sexual activity with a guard. I was never told or instructed that inmates had any right to privacy."
On September 13, 2002, the Texas Rangers opened an investigation of sexual abuse at Haltom City Jail. Charlotte O'Kelly, a police records clerk made statements which seem to support Weaver's allegations of an environment of sexual abuse and degradation at the jail. O'Kelly was then arrested for allegedly distributing confidential police files on a case involving child sexual assault.
On October 18, 2002, Haltom City Police Chief Billy Hammit submitted his resignation effective December 31, 2002.
On October 22, 2002, a warrant was issued for Weaver for sexual abuse of female prisoners. Later that month, he was arrested and charged with sexual assault and two counts of having sex with a prisoner.
On October 30, 2002, Haltom City police officer John Ross Ewing, 28, was arrested for sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy.
On October 31, 2002, two more women join the civil rights suit. One claims to have been raped at the jail on four occasions. The other alleges she was forced to disrobe in front of two jailers. On November 4, 2002, another woman alleges in a federal civil rights lawsuit that she was forced to disrobe in front of a Haltom City jailer. A federal judge ordered women alleging sexual abuse at the jail to file separate suits. On November 21, 2002, one of the plaintiffs drops her suit, but maintains her allegations of sexual abuse at the jail.
In early December 2002, the Texas Rangers terminated their investigation with no new findings of sexual misconduct. Their recommendation that another jailer and a police officer be prosecuted is rejected by the Tarrant County District Attorney's office on grounds of insufficient evidence (in Texas, the uncorroborated testimony of the victim of sexual abuse is sufficient evidence as a matter of law).
On December 28, 2002, three additional women filed federal civil rights suits against Haltom City alleging sexual harassment at the jail. This brings the total number of women suing up to 12.
On December 31, 2002, Police Chief Hammitt's resignation took effect. On January 7, 2003, Weaver filed affidavits in federal court claiming Byno watched female prisoners undress using security cameras. Even though Byno denied the allegations, Haltom City Mayor Calvin White asked him to resign.
Clearly, something is rotten in the city of Haltom. The extent of the rot may be revealed in time.
Sources: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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