What does a district attorney do when the chief investigator in the biggest child sex ring case in state history turns out to have been hiding important evidence? If you are Matt Bingham, district attorney of Smith County, you try to get as far away from the case as you possibly can. You call in the attorney general’s office for help. And you hunker down and hope the resulting investigation doesn’t make your office look like one that casually convicts innocent people.
And that is a real danger for Bingham. The so-called Mineola swingers club cases, which I wrote about in April (“ Across the Line”), were already pretty dodgy, even before the latest revelations. Three adults were convicted of running a sex kindergarten for kids and then putting them onstage for shows at a swingers club in Mineola (three more defendants await trial). There was no physical evidence against the adults, and there were no grown-up witnesses—just the inconsistent and often bizarre words of five young children.
The leader of the investigation was Texas Ranger Philip Kemp, who never even visited some of the alleged crime scenes and who broke all kinds of professional protocols in interviewing the alleged