Investigation Finds Sex Abuse at Juvenile Corrections Agency

A massive investigation is underway into sexual abuse at the West Texas State School in Pyote which is due east of El Paso.

The facility is one of 13 such institutions in the state's juvenile corrections agency. It holds youths who commit felony-level offenses who are 10 to 17 years old, some of whom are held until 21.  Once they are of adult age they can be transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to complete their sentence in prison.

Some of the youths being held there are from our area.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg takes a look into the details of the scandal, and it's Amarillo ties... 

Of the 250 inmates in custody at the Pyote facility, at least 8 are from the Amarillo area.

But they may not be there for long. The state may decide to shut the facility down amid the accusations of repeated sexual contact.

An internal investigation conducted by the Texas Rangers documents nearly 100 cases of confirmed sexual abuse at the hands of senior staff members.

Despite numerous allegations of abuse from other staff members and parents neither of the accused predators,  Ray Brookins, former assistant superintendent at Pyote, and John Paul Hernandez, former principal, were disciplined or fired.
As a result of the allegations, Governor Rick Perry is replacing the chairman of the Texas Youth Commission which operates the school.  While Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is demanding the entire board be fired.

Today state leaders named a new acting executive director to root out people who helped cover up the sexual abuse of inmates.  Legislative leaders are still in the process of naming a conservator for the embattled Texas Youth Commission.  They are also looking at increasing the inmate-to-guard ratio at the school or closing it, which would take 4 to 5 years to do.  

The inmates from Potter and Randall counties are in for offenses like assault, robbery and various probation violations.

There is no confirmation any of them are involved in the sexual contact investigation.

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