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Former Texas Youth Commission Official Gets Ten Years in Prison
Ray Edwards Brookins, formerly the assistant superintendent of TYC’s West Texas State School, was convicted of the 2004 sexual abuse of a prisoner who was 18 years old at that time. The charges included two counts of improper sexual activity with a person in custody and an improper relationship between an educator and a student.
Brookins is one of two TYC officials accused of sexually abusing up to 13 youths in TYC custody. Former West Texas State School principal John Paul Hernandez is scheduled to go to trial in February 2011; he faces one count of sexual assault, nine counts of improper relationship with a person in custody, and nine counts of improper relationship between a student and educator. [See: PLN, Feb. 2008, p.1].
Multiple witnesses, including the 18-year-old prisoner Brookins was accused of molesting, gave lurid testimony about late-night encounters in offices or recreational fields, Brookins’ use of pornography and sex toys, and his unwanted sexual advances that he would not allow his young victims to rebuff.
Brookins resigned in February 2005, soon after he was interviewed by Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski, who was investigating the sex scandal at TYC. Burzynski’s 2005 report, which detailed the sexual abuse of TYC prisoners, wasn’t acted on for two years. After Brookins was sentenced an emotional Burzynski fought to keep his feelings under control.
“This has been an emotional roller coaster from the start,” he said. “I think it’s because most every case we work, there is a support system for the victims, but not these kids.” Once the TYC sex scandal was exposed, state officials overhauled the agency in an effort to remedy existing problems and prevent future incidents of sexual abuse by TYC staff. The TYC’s West Texas State School, where Brookins and Hernandez were employed, has since been closed.
Sources: Associated Press, www.newswest9.com, Houston Chronicle
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