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Rusk,TX police officer rapes Rusk ISD student; on probation and on the lam. Alto, TX Postmaster steals $27,000 from local Post Office. Rusk, TX teacher indicted on child pornography.

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Rusk Texas:

City of Rusk TX police officer, and former Cherokee County Sheriff Department jailer,  Christopher “Chris” Michael Hennessy was handed a 10 year probation sentence by Cherokee County TX District Attorney Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. in 2004 after Hennessy sexually assaulted a female 15-year-old Rusk ISD student. Officer Hennessy absconded his Sex Offender Registration after later being charged with distribution of crystal meth and unauthorized use of a motor, according to a February 28, 2008 article in the Jacksonville Daily Progress. Rusk TX officer Chris Hennessy was also under investigation by the ATF for possession of explosives.

Officer Christopher Michael Hennessy was apprehended in Houston, TX by the US Marshals Service on Wednesday February 27, 2008. Hennessy had been working in the Houston area under an assumed name. Refer to Cherokee County Texas Criminal Docket; Case 16121 ; Indecency/Sexual Assault of child-Felony
Filed 05/23/2005 – Disposition: 11/17/2005 Deferred adjudication
2nd District Court, District Clerk, Cherokee County TX.

And Criminal Docket Case 16681; Case 16682 in the 2nd District Court, Cherokee County, TX.

Obviously Hennessy’s deferred adjudication wasn’ t good enough for the rogue officer; deferred adjudication is a plea bargain agreement, as it is defined, that is not an formal guilty plea and is NOT a conviction. The charge remains on the defendant’s record, however all licensing, bonding and law enforcement, i.e. political affiliations remain untarnished if probation is served (or reduced by a sympathetic district judge).

Hennessy refused his Sex Offender Registration in Cherokee County, TX and violated his slap-on-the-wrist probation. The Cherokee County district judge would have terminated his probation; however Hennessy would have to first register as a Sex Offender. Officer Hennessy was 24 in 2004.

Elmer Beckworth believed Officer’s Hennessy’s reputation was more valuable than the raped 15-year-old Rusk Jr. High student by offering DEFERRED ADJUDICATION probation. Of course, the Cherokee County District Attorney is not held accountable in the local media for any of the COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES of Chris Hennessy’s plea bargain; allowing Hennessy to continue the crystal meth trafficking into Beckworth’s hometown, possible bomb making and who knows what else before Officer Hennessy was nabbed by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force.

Alto Texas: US Postmaster Herbert Michael Dominguez located in the tiny Alto, TX post office stole $27,000 worth of postage stamps and federal money orders, converting them into his own personal use. Similarly Dominguez’s indictment and crime was not reported by any Cherokee County Texas newspaper. It took the Tyler Texas paper to report the local indictment of Postmaster Dominquez in its February 27, 2008 issue. Dominguez had been being paying most of the stolen money back in restitution. U.S. Federal District Judge Michael Schneider in Tyler TX gave the thieving Postal Service agent 1 year adjudicated probation.

What do these cases have in common? A Rusk TX police officer who molested a Jr. High girl and an unsupervised Postmaster in Alto TX both received deferred adjudicated probation for their crimes, both State and Federal. Both get to keep their TCLEOSE licenses and government pensions. Probation given in order to keep the sorid mess under wraps. Even after raping the coffers and thus taxpayers of their most precious commodity: their children and their privacy.

Criminal activity within Cherokee County’s post offices has been documented for years. In August 1997, DPS officer Joe Don Abernathy was lucky enough to have DWI and unlawful discharge of a weapon charges dismissed after an employee in the Rusk Texas post office smashed his vial of blood on it way to the Garland, TX DPS lab for alcohol tests.

Aug. 21, 1997 Cherokeean Herald p.1


Aug. 21, 1997 Cherokeean Herald p. 10A


A local Rusk TX woman named Linda Lanier had filed a complaint against Trooper Joe Don Abernathy in Feb. 1997 after Abernathy had chased the Lanier family down the back roads of Hwy. 84 in the middle of the night. The complaint stated the off duty trooper had shot at the Lanier family vehicle, on their way back from Boosier City, LA. The Rusk PD arrested Abernathy on U.S. 69 and found rifles, a shotgun and beer cans in Abernathy’s pickup. Abernathy requested a blood sample be drawn in lieu of a breathalyzer, and the sample was literally dropped off in the mail. The test tube containing the DUI arrest evidence was destroyed by the Rusk TX Postal Service. A common tactic observed with the roles have been reversed and a DPS officer cites a Cherokee County deputy for DUI. And of course the Cherokee County TX District Attorney’s office never took Abernathy’s “deadly conduct” case in front of a grand jury.

Trooper Joe Don Abernathy accepted Cherokee County’s County Attorney’s offer of reckless driving as was placed on minimal adjudicated probation. The horror the Lanier family endured the night of Feb. 9, 1997 has been long forgotten. Trooper Joe Abernathy presently works as a Senior Recruiter for the DPS office in Tyler, TX.

The personal use of public works by those assigned to protect and serve Cherokee County Texas has been covered up for decades. In a 1995 Cherokeean Herald article, Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell denied his deputies partake in monitoring and recording inmates’ jailhouse pay phone calls. Complete with an incredulous and concocted story on fictitious inmates crank calling witnesses from their cellblocks.



June 1, 1995 Cherokeean Herald p.1


Jan. 5, 2002 Houston Chronicle article from the AP highlights the State’s TDCJ policy of listening in and recording all jail inmates’ conversations, as a required duty performed by all Texas penal systems -and those like Sheriff James Campbell who are charged with doing so. In 1998 the TDCJ policy altered to allow privacy between inmates’ phone calls and their attorney-client privileges. That policy has certainly been ignored by the Cherokee County Sheriff Department and District Attorney’s office.  Cherokee County  also tells its citizens the Sheriff Department does not record its DETCOG established 911 calls either.

Jan. 5, 2002 Houston Chronicle p.39A

The June 5, 1995 Cherokeean article citing the “telephone harassment” of bored Cherokee County inmates and how the poor Sheriff can’t “listen in” and put a stop to it – why that is a sharp contrast to the 12th Court of Appeals affirmation of one inmate’s recent threatening phone call to his wife. The case Kevin Wade Conner v. The State of Texas–Appeal from County Court at Law of Cherokee County was heard in Tyler on February 29, 2008 based upon the  ‘Dial H for Harassment’  scenario that actually took place. Kevin Conner was arrested in 2006 for public intoxication and during his one phone call to his wife, threatened to beat her up. Conner was subsequently charged with telephone harassment and the audio tape recorded phone conversation admitted into evidence at his trial, Cherokee County Court at Law (trial court case # 45,593).

Kevin Conner’s attorney filed an appeal in Tyler, refer to Case # 12-06-00311-CR, filed on 8/26/2006 in the 12th Court of Appeals, challenging the legality of tape recording the plaintiff’s phone call and admitting it into evidence.  The opinion states:
“The erroneous admission of the recording in question is nonconstitutional error. See King, 953 S.W.2d at 271. Nonconstitutional error that does not affect the substantial rights of the defendant must be disregarded. TEX. R. APP. P. 44.2(b). Such an error does not warrant reversal unless it had a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict. See King, 953 S.W.2d at 271.”

The 12th Court of Appeals doesn’t get into the messy legality question as to whether it is legal or unconstitutional (nonconstitutional error / admission of egregious evidence, i.e. illegally gained evidence) to record jailhouse phone conversations. The deputy testified he “overheard” the threats that were decided not to be just “hearsay.”  And the Texas penal system allows jails to monitor the inmate accessible pay phones. That was good enough to admit the audio recording into evidence and convict Kevin Conner with “telephone harassment” based on the testimony of an eavesdropping deputy. Even though Sheriff James Campbell told the local newspapers in 1995 that the “law prohibits my deputies to listen in on” jailhouse phone calls. The Appellate Court says in 2008 recording and monitoring the Cherokee County Sheriff Department’s phone calls are “pursuant to the jail’s standard policy, the call was recorded without notice to either Appellant [Kevin Conner] or Conner [his wife].”

June 1, 1995 Cherokeean Herald p.1

Wiretaps in the Liberty County TX courthouse, circa 2001:

Similarily, in 2001 Liberty County Texas Constable Craig Houghton  and Liberty Courthouse maintenance chief Thomas Neal Williford pleaded guilty to illegally wiretapping the courthouse telephones. County Commissioner Pct. 4  Toby Wilburn allegedly provided recording devices for Williford, et al to place on the phone lines of political adversaries within the courthouse. Constable Craig Houghton and Thomas Williford both were sent to 3 months in prison, and Commissioner Wilburn was acquitted in Nov. 2001 on wiretapping. Commissioner Wilburn claimed Constable Houghton had obtained a warrant from the court; the local jury bought the explanation of providing the phone surveillance equipment. Despite the fact that only the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are the only entities that can legally monitor phone lines.

Prisons and jails are required to monitor inmates’ calls and terminate the surveillance during conversations with their attorneys. Constable Houghton and Thomas Williford were sentenced to 3 months federal prison and 2 years probation according to the Houston Chronicle. Both claimed the illegal phone taps were installed to “rid the courthouse of theft and corruption.”

Rusk Texas:

Longtime Rusk Texas ISD drama teacher Harold Earl “Bo” Scallon was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Tyler on Tuesday March 4, 2008 for possession and distribution of child pornography. The FBI raided the home of Harold Scallon in Jacksonville in July 2007 on a federal warrant based on a tip and ongoing investigation by the Longview TX police department. Scallon’s computer was seized, and alleged to contain illegal images of children engaged in sex. The Rusk Texas drama coach faces 20 years federal prison and fines for each count of distribution of child porn.


Rusk Texas teacher H.E. “Bo” Scallon

According to a March 5, 2008 Tyler Paper article, federal prosecutors and the Rusk ISD superintendent’s office refused to acknowledge that Harold “Bo” Scallon was employed in the drama department up until the time he was indicted in federal court for possession and distribution of child pornography. Local newspaper deliberately refer to the theater teacher as “former” and “EX-teacher” even though Harold Scallon never formerly retired from the Rusk Texas school district. Conflicting dates of the alleged cyber crime are being reported. 2007 Rusk ISD Valedictorian Kinsey Gresham acknowledged Mr. Scallon’s presence in his students’ and fellow faculty members’  lives during her June 2007 graduation speech. “Bo” Scallon had worked over 30 years for the Rusk Texas Independent School District. In March 2007 another Rusk Texas and former Jacksonville ISD teacher, Social Studies’ Brian Edward Basse, was indicted for indecency with a minor, i.e. one of his students.

Out of county company representatives and those seeking open-records in the Cherokee County Texas courthouse may have experienced the frequent violation of the Texas Public Information Act. That is those requesting court records having to sign waivers or being asked for their own personal information before the court employee provides the requested documents. An article in the Dec. 30, 2002 Houston Chronicle titled “East Texas public data often elusive” shows East Texas law agencies were the least helpful and most confrontationale when it came to providing citizens access to open records.

County governments out of a 14 county survey conducted over a 4 month period in 2002, where shown to be cooperative in complying with the State’s open records laws. However, East Texas sheriff or police departments “resisted producing records 68% of the time” and complied with the State’s timeline for requests only 38% of the time. One researcher from the journalism department of UT Tyler was told she had to “earn the right to see documents see requested.” This is, unfortunately, the majority mindset of East Texan law enforcement. 

The Public Information Act states that any and all information regarding an arrest record and the name of the complainant are to be made available to the inquirying public. Texas law enforcement records are not exempt from public disclosure. Nor are property records at the Cherokee County courthouse.

Companies contemplating setting up operations in greater East Texas should consider the light sentencing for sexual assault of a minor by police officers, embezzlement of postal services and city government funds, road rage by a veteran DPS officer and the bonafide illegal wiretapping of constables and commissioners. The articles may be hidden in the news archives and the back of the minds of the residents; however they are the forefront of daily operations in Counties steeped in corruption. The disparate sentencing of minorities versus law enforcement caught red-handed and judgments against national companies should be thoroughly investigated by any business testing the job market in Cherokee County Texas. Company business calls will be intercepted, company mail rifled through by post office employees, their profits stolen via lawsuits and most importantly their children will be at risk from Cherokee County’s Rogues Gallery of child molesters enjoying their commuted probations.

As an April 29, 2007 Houston Chronicle article published by the Seattle Post titled “Civil Rights investigations decline as focus for FBI” states: for federal agencies keeping watch over rogue police officers, there has been in the last 5 years a 2/3rds drop in investigations of abusive police officers and hate crime purveyors. “You’re going to have officers getting away with, in some cases, literally murder.” Especially in East Texas where victims are portrayed as “nutcases” and/or transient drug addicts by the local media. And their stories buried with their remains in a nearby National Forest.


11 Responses

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  1. Brandon Wayne Robertson was let loose by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office after being pulled over by a DPS between Rusk and Jacksonville on April 6, 2008. Robertson was a parolee and was cited for carrying a gun and crystal meth, probably on his way back to Longview. I never heard of a guy on parole being put in jail for carrying a gun (a felon with a gun) and controlled substance (a felon with crystal meth), then released the next day.
    Robertson went on to kill another DPS on April 29, 2008, after being pulled over in Marion County.
    Why was a convicted felon out on parole given only a $7500 bond and released by Cherokee County the next day in the first place?


    05/15/2008 at 7:21 PM

  2. Trooper Abernathy was given a pat on the back for scaring the living daylights out of the Rusk woman. His blood vial was deliberately destroyed.


    07/09/2008 at 1:46 AM

    • Rusk police are a very odd bunch


      04/24/2015 at 10:49 AM

  3. This really worries me. Isn’t this post master Dominguez guy running a christian school in Rusk? How safe are kids there under his care? I was thinking of enrolling my child in that school but after hearing about his fraud case I am thinking twice about it. I don’t know if it’s the fraud issue that makes me worry or if it’s that his name appears next to so many sex offenders in this area. Bo Scallon was my literature teacher many years ago. I would have never thought this of him. He was such a great teacher and always one of my favorites. I don’t understand how the community would petition to give him less time in jail. HELLO? Maybe those who are petitioning are ones who can relate to what he did? What he did is horrible. How can you sit there and watch innocent little children doing these things????? And how about we locate the ones actually taking the pictures???????? ugh! This really upsets me!!!


    08/13/2008 at 9:14 PM

  4. Why did the teacher with the porn get more time than the cop that raped the girl or the drunk sorry excuse for public safety dps? Had it been my child the cop would not have had to worry about jail he’d have to worry about mom and dad. I hope they all get what is owed to them in the end.

    just me

    08/27/2009 at 10:09 PM

  5. I couldn’t remain silent after reading the content of this posting. Whomever wrote this posting should at least ATTEMT to get the facts correct before posting for the whole world to see. I am an employee of the Postal Service and worked in the Rusk Post Office during the Abernathy scandel. I know for a fact a ‘Postal Employee at the Rusk Post Office’ did not smash the vial of blood mentioned. This vial was mailed somewhere and it was damaged but it didn’t happen at the Rusk PO. Whomever wrote this is directly accusing the few clerks employed at Rusk during this time of intentionally ‘smashing’ this piece of mail. I’m saying… it didn’t happen. Feel free to contact me if you want the facts instead of making a story up as you go along. [email withheld]


    09/12/2010 at 6:31 PM

    • If you know who in fact destroyed the evidence back in the day, you should have come forward. The attempt was never made by the local newspapers in 1997 to post the facts surrounding the Abernathy DWI. The fact is the vial of blood containing the evidence was destroyed in transit. If you re-read all the articles about the cover-up in the Cherokeean Herald, your hometown Rusk PD placed the onus of the broken vial on the Rusk Post Office, while ignoring the arresting officer’s report and a distraught eyewitness. The package containing the blood draw was deliberately improperly sealed/padded to exonerate the trooper. And not one Cherokee County news outlet dared report the federal embezzlement conviction of the Alto, TX postmaster. As the entire posting suggests, if the local law enforcement wants into to someone’s mail or business phone lines, then they are granted access by employees of those agencies. Your sheriff department and district attorney’s office intercept your mail and record your private phone conversations to keep themselves in office; the whole world already knows it. They’ve testified in court on the multiple ways they believe they can get away with it. First way: have the evidence against themselves destroyed.

  6. Ok, after reading this I just have to chime in about an incident that happened to my family. My child was actually shot by a neighbor child several years ago with a shotgun. Thank God it was far enough away to cause no lasting physical injury. The Rusk PD was called out to handle the case. The boy who shot my child was never to my knowledge reprimanded, punished, spoken to… nothing. His mother requested which investigator she wanted to investigate what happened and it just so happened to be an investigator she was sleeping with. I guess this particular incident was investigated between the sheets.

    Meanwhile my child lived in terror daily of this other kid, and slept on the couch directly outside our bedroom door for years afterward. The boy would sometimes hide and wait for someone to step outside at our house and he would set of firecrackers and then laugh if/when we jumped. Thankfully he has since moved. Also, that summer (several months before the incident with my child), a child who was a friend of my child (lived down our same road) was found dead of (from what I understand) multiple shotgun wounds. This child’s death was ruled a suicide, even though the way I heard it this young person had been shot in the chest, and then the head. I always wonder to myself… where was the boy who shot my child the day this other young person lost their life?

    You could tell in our community that something was being covered up around this incident, but no one was gonna say what was really happening. It appears that even if you are just sleeping with the right people you and yours may get away with some pretty serious stuff.


    04/19/2011 at 7:59 AM

  7. First of all, some of this information is WRONG! I am a lifelong resident of Rusk, Tx and I can tell you that there are several mistakes in this article. First of all, I was a high school cheerleader whenever officer Hennessy ‘raped’ the junior high girl. This is untrue. She was a high schooler who was already driving and repeatedly presented herself at his home, I know this because she was in our circle of friends. While what Officer Hennessy did was very wrong, if anything, she was constantly pursuing him. She didn’t want to file charges and kept telling everyone she was indeed half responsible, but her dad filed instead. officer Hennessy never made bombs either, what a joke! The quote from the 2007 valedictorian is wrong too. She was the valedictorian, I graduated in 2007 as well. So, although some of this info may be correct, take it with a grain of salt because simply skimming over it I noticed several incorrect statements!


    07/25/2011 at 9:50 AM

    • In regards to this March 2008 posting:
      Officer Hennessy was obviously not part of the clique operating the Rusk courthouse, otherwise he could have date raped the entire Jr. High without a peep from the district attorney. It may be a difficult concept to grasp from a Cherokee County perspective, but the age of consent does not begin when a girl gets her driver’s permit, i.e. 15. It’s called STATUTORY RAPE.The point of the article was that Hennessy was offered slap on the wrist probation for his tryst with the underage girl, and then absconded until out-of-region authorities nabbed him.

      Secondly, private/business phone conversations are illegally intercepted by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, including private attorney to client calls from the jailhouse.

      Thirdly, the Alto, TX Postmaster stole $27,000 from the tiny post office over God knows how long of a period and not one paper in Cherokee County reported it. Wonder where all the money in Alto has gone???
      Read about it an hour away in Tyler, TX: http://www.tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802270343

      Lastly, Harold Earl Scallon was not a “former” Rusk ISD teacher; he was on contract and worked up through June 2007 when his house was raided by the FBI.
      2007 Rusk High School Valedictorian Kinsey Gresham honored H.E. “Bo” Scallon at the graduation address reprinted in the June 6, 2007 Cherokeean, named
      ‘Let your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles’
      By KINSEY GRESHAM RHS high ranking student

      “Well guys, we did it. Welcome to graduation. Now that I officially have the floor, good evening graduates. It just so happens Mr. Scallon does not have music for me to say my speech by. I want you all to know that the past 13 years of my life have been a time I will never forget…”

      Read Gresham’s speech in its entirety here: http://www.thecherokeean.com/news/2007-06-20/opinion/015.html

      And let’s not forget how the FBI raided the Rusk High School to confiscate Scallon’s company computer.
      All the above proves Bo Scallon was in fact working for the Rusk ISD up to the point of being indicted for possessing and distributing child porn. Quite the opposite stance your good ol’ hometown papers depict as Mr. Scallon not attending to the children’s public swimming pool for the last 30 years. Or teaching high school drama classes during Rusk’s 2007 school year while he was simultaneously going to church and trading kiddie porn on the Internet.
      Read about it here: https://cherokeecountytexas.wordpress.com/fbi-raids-rusk-isd-over-child-pornography/

      Face it: your local newspapers and related authorities skim over the most atrocious behavior known to mankind. Your “former” teacher is a closet pedophile, one of many given a free pass by the Cherokee County legal system. Don’t take it “with a grain of salt” and contribute to the cover-up. Start doing something about it if you’re going to stay in Rusk the rest of your life. That begins with admitting it and holding those accountable who try to have it both ways.

      Thanks for reading, nonetheless, and your comment.
      Continue to read all about it on Austin’s Burnt Orange Report, the Statesman, Blogspot, Technorati, Zimbio, the Houston Chronicle’s religion section and other fine blogrolls.

  8. I am going on Tv and when I do I will tell the world everything I know about Rusk Texas cause this is the worst town to grow up in or live in in this world. This Town does not care about any of the people who stay in it but only about the people who work in it and only the color of people skin. B the right color and you can get away with any thing. That is not right now nor has it ever been. The police kill people and get away with murder, the teachers rape students and get away with it, CPS takes peoples kids and have the take classes and never intend to give them back no matter what they do, yet some one can have their kids die or not take care of them and get them back, when I tell the world about all that is going on in this town I hope GOD has mercy on all their souls. You hurt people and never look back well know what is done in the dark comes to the light and I Pray that GOD puts a light over this town so big that every place on earth look that way.


    06/09/2013 at 8:00 PM

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