In “Cuckoo’s Nest Revisited,” which I posted yesterday, I wrote that Rick Perry’s office had a copy of the Texas Rangers report on the TYC abuse allegations for over a year and did nothing. My source was Senator Juan Hinojosa, who held hearings about the TYC scandal. Today, following a conversation with a Perry staffer who said that Perry does not have either the Rangers report or the TYC internal report, I spoke with Hinojosa, who said while Perry’s office knew of the investigation, he cannot verify that the governor’s office ever received an actual copy of either report.
It’s clear that the real public failure occurred at the district attorney level, where the local prosecutor didn’t have the resources to pursue a criminal investigation and didn’t seek help from the Attorney General’s office. However, the entire episode reminds me of the old Texas Department of Corrections, which covered up horrific conditions and abuse of inmates — in federal court, no less — until aggressive board members led by Austin attorney Harry Whittington ferreted out the truth and held agency executives reponsible. Bill Clements appointed Whittington and several other smart public servants to the board and stood behind them, even though their investigations revealed embarrassing circumstances and required costly fixes. I can only imagine what Bill Clements would have said to a board member who failed to follow up on allegations of sex abuse of teen-agers in a state facility.