Posts Tagged ‘Alto Texas’
Two former City of Alto clerks have posted bond after being indicted for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the city. The theft of public funds allegedly began in October 1, 2010, according to court records. The duo has been charged with felony theft by a public servant. (Courtesy KETK) The Texas Rangers began investigating the missing funds back in April after the two City employees were terminated. (Jacksonville Progress). Years and years of fishing out the City coffers has deliberately gone unnoticed.
A Cherokee County grand jury has indicted two former City of Alto employees on felony theft by a public servant charges.
Jeanie Mignon Curtis Selman, 35, of Alto, was indicted for second-degree felony theft by a public servant when the Cherokee County grand jury met on Aug. 22.
According to the text of the indictment East Texas News obtained Tuesday, the grand jury met in the 2nd Judicial District Court. The indictment alleges that Selman stole somewhere between $30,000 and $150,000 while she was employed as a court clerk by the city of Alto. The indictment states that the theft occurred on Oct. 1, 2010.
The Cherokee County grand jury also indicted another former City of Alto employee. Whittney Nicole Arriola, 31, of Alto, was indicted on a felony theft by a public servant charge as well. The indictment states that the alleged theft occurred on Oct. 1, 2010. She is also accused of stealing between $30,000 and $150,000 from the city. Like Selman, she was working as a court clerk at the time.
Each woman had a bail amount of $10,000. Both Selman and Arriola have posted their bail amounts, and they have been released from the county jail.
Back in April, East Texas News learned that the Texas Rangers were asked to look into allegations of theft that occurred at Alto City Hall, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jean Dark.
Dark said the investigation was requested by the Alto Police Department.
(Source: CBS 19)
Michael Dashawn Harris, sentenced to life (with parole) for the murder of Jacksonville, TX resident Faye Bell Harris.
Time served: 6 years.
(Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, January 22, 2004)
“Harris faces competency hearing.”
The capital murder case of Michael Dashawn Harris is scheduled to get underway next week – in a preliminary sense – with a hearing to determine his competency to stand trial.
Judge Dwight Phifer, who oversees the state’s 2nd Judicial District, has also ordered that jury selection for the trial begin on either Feb. 9 or 17.
Police officers arrested Harris, 44, on Aug. 4, 2003, after he went to his mother-in-law’s house and allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife, Faye Harris. Harris was also charged with retaliation.
In Texas, any time a murder is committed in the course of committing certain felonies – such as retaliation – a person may be charged with capital murder and be eligible for the death penalty.
Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth has not said if he will seek the death penalty in the Harris case. (Courtesy: Daily Progress)
After trying to burn down their house and later murdering his ex-wife in front of their daughter, Michael Dashawn Harris passed away 6 years into a life sentence arranged by District Attorney Elmer Beckworth. The version of events promulgated by the folks in Cherokee County and the district attorney is that the murder was a result of lax felony bond requirements and that prosecutors followed the letter of the law. After all that money was spent on Beckworth traveling to Austin to ostensibly champion Faye Bell Harris as a victim’s rights advocate and to grandstand, Cherokee County newspapers did not contest Michael Harris’ possible early release to the Parole Board.
They are confident the ignorant public has been fooled completely in this case; they convinced the Harris family that they were not responsible for allowing a drug informant on the streets after repeatedly arresting him for escalating domestic violence. What is Michael Harris’ value to the district attorney’s office?
Michael Harris was initially arrested on a Cherokee County warrant by the Tyler Police Department on January 27, 2003. He was transported back to Cherokee County where he was charged with arson/attempt to cause bodily injury in a house of worship. He made bail and continued to repeatedly attack his estranged ex-wife while on felony bond.
Michael Dashawn Harris (Courtesy: Smith County)
Oddly enough, Michael D. Harris was not just charged with a homicide; he pleaded to murdering a “peace officer or fireman” and attempting to burn down this so-called “place of worship.” To the district attorney’s office, the Harris household was a religious safe house strategically located in the city of Jacksonville’s northern drug corridor. Hence Elmer Beckworth charged Michael Harris with murdering a “peace officer,” [the victim Mrs. Harris], i.e. the other informant living in the house and cooperating with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department. Faye Harris worked as a therapy technician at the Rusk State Hospital according to the Cherokeean Herald. Did Michael Harris murder their CI or was he charged under another one of Cherokee County’s made up statutes?
(Source: Cheorkeean April 30, 1998 Sec. A, p. 7) click for larger view
Sources: Criminal Docket Case 15388: CAPITAL MURDER OF A PEACE OFFICER OR FIREMAN THE STATE OF TEXAS vs HARRIS, MICHAEL DASHAWN. Filed 09/22/2003 –Disposition: 10/18/2004 Conviction-guilty plea or nolo cont-no jury.
Case 15354: MURDER; Case 15387: ASSAULT CAUSES BODILY INJURY FAMILY VIOLENCE ENHANCED; Case 15250: ARSON BODILY INJURY/DEATH IN PLACE OF WORSHIP. 2nd District Court, District Clerk, Cherokee County, TX.
The Michael Harris case never went to trial; he pleaded No Contest to the 2003 homicide after his in-and-out rehab stints at the Rusk State Hospital. His bail was set and reset multiple times by the Cherokee County court system. Faye Harris’ calls to the district court to have her ex-husband locked up for his escalating domestic violence were ignored. Thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent to convince the public otherwise.
Are residents beginning to realize the depth and breadth of public corruption going on under their noses and why their municipalities’ police forces have dried up? Where has all the taxpayer money for public safety gone? Exactly how is the District Attorney’s Law Enforcement Fund from seizures being spent?
Taxpayer money is spent subsidizing the families and allies of the same group of people who have been draining Cherokee County dry for decades. Cherokee County is a family-operated criminal enterprise and along with their familial kickbacks, their confidential informants have bankrupted the city and county coffers. According to CBS News, the towns of Wells and Alto, TX have both had their entire police forces furloughed as their city councils do some fiduciary housecleaning. The tiny town of Alto, TX is making up for a $185,000 budget deficit with the layoffs. (Source: CBS News, Tiny Texas town lays off entire police force)
For the first time in modern history, these one stoplight towns have done a little fiscal oversight and discovered that their city services are in the RED. Too much taxpayer money has been allocated for personal use which includes paying law enforcement and their families to illegally monitor the law-abiding public. They have decided to cut their city law enforcement and have overextended sheriff’s deputies respond to their emergencies. The local Cherokeean Herald reports Alto, TX (population 1150) had five officers on payroll for nighttime alarm patrol in a one-horse town.
Looking for an oral history of Cherokee County, Texas?
Chapter 1: A history of corruption that cannot be rewritten or ignored.
Former Alto police chiefs’ salaries have ranged from $16K to over $100K, depending on who the applicant was related to, even though the city’s population has remained at or below 1100 for the last 30 years. Their turnover has been frequent, controversial and bitter at times. Relatives of the former district attorney have framed past police chiefs to run them out of town and move themselves into a coveted salaried position. (Source: Cherokeean) Former Alto mayor Garwin Baugh tells the Jacksonville Daily Progress in 1992 how he and Police Chief Tom Griffith were targeted for openly discussing the coverup of a murdered feed store owner. (Source: Daily Progress May 1, 1992)
Chief Griffith was ousted and the district attorney’s investigator took his job to make sure the capital murder conviction in the case was not overturned. All public discussions of the case were quelled. The conviction was eventually overturned and an innocent defendant facing life in prison was released on time served. The case was The State vs. Terry Watkins. Elmer Beckworth represented the State at Watkins’ appeal; his job was to thwart any and all evidentiary review hearings that proved Terry Watkins’ innocence. The victim’s life insurance was used among other things to pay State witnesses for the prosecutor, former district attorney Charles Holcomb. Taxpayer money has always been spent to keep the family clan in office and against whistleblowers. Proceeds from insurance payouts also come in handy for hush money.
click for larger view
During this current police furlough, the sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office will have to rely solely on their good ol’ boy/ bitty network to keep watch over the southern part of the county. Even more taxpayer money will be allocated for illegal phone drops, jury plants, ‘anonymous’ tipsters and other reserve officers’ clandestine eavesdropping.
Every week the local newspapers report the status of merchant sales tax revenues as if it were a true signal of the economic status of the county. Following their logic, these little towns rake in the sales tax but cannot afford to have police protection? Think again.
The only investigative technique utilized by law enforcement in this area is illegal phone tapping of its residents. At least since the 1920’s they have enlisted their family members to listen to and record as many perfectly legal telephone and innocuous business conversations as possible throughout the county. In their minds there is no need for an active police force in rural areas because their 3rd generation phone tapping network is intact and operating at 100%.
Informants provide routine drug busts to justify county and state level investigators and their salaries, while taxpayer money is pooled to help pay these CIs’ house bills and keep them in the county. Instead of being ostracized, murderers and drug addicts are on the dole in Cherokee County. When it comes to politicking, these informants provide pabulum for district attorney’s and sheriff investigators. That is where the money has gone. Tax revenue goes to keep these salaried parasites in office and against any and all who challenge them. Traveling public beware if you use the local telephone systems or post offices.
No need to dial 9-1-1 folks; they know about crime before it even takes place. Usually they are the perpetrators.
Sales tax reciprocity from the city to the county level will cease to exist until Cherokee County voters are brave enough to do some judiciary housecleaning. Meanwhile, Cherokee County taxpayer dollars are still being spent on prosecuting Robert Fox for filing a Notice to Sue in Smith County; investigating the Precinct 3 Commissioner for her bonafide due diligence; and decades of private property improvements by county officials in bed with the district attorney. The entire county, much less the small towns of Alto and Wells, TX, can no longer afford the public corruption that has been going on for decades.
Warning: Cherokee County Texas institutions are bastions of child exploitation and employ purveyors of child pornography.The mass exodus of Rusk Independent School District faculty members earlier this year is based upon the revelation that protected locals and administration officials with a penchant for photography have been under FBI scrutiny for years- stemming from the 2001-2002 Department of Justice crackdown of Palestine, Texas resident Mark Bates – the Webmaster of a worldwide e-mail child pornography ring originating from Internet servers in Anderson and Cherokee Counties. Why did the Rusk High School principal and all those Rusk ISD teachers and coaches turn in their resignations?
The FBI sting called “Operation Candyman” netted individuals throughout the country, including an A&M cadet in Brownsville and two men from the Houston,TX area. 89 subscribers total were indicted. Mark Bates, age 33 of Palestine, TX was sentenced in December 2002 to 30 years prison for being the mastermind and moderator of the website used to download images federal prosecutors called “absolutely appalling in the depth of their depravity.” Many arrested subscribers to Mark Bates’ email group (such as Toby Barnett from Lufkin, Texas) were people ‘holding positions of trust with frequent contact with children.’ Mark Bates had two prior child molestation convictions and a history of mental disorders.
The ongoing cover up of this type of depraved and illegal activity should show the rest of the state just how duplicitous Cherokee County Texas really is. Especially when local officials pretend to have no knowledge of kiddie porn being distributed from computers owned by the school district. A place where under the guise of fake evangelicalism, the images of broken and bloody bodies of children have been traded like Green Stamps on the Internet for decades. While at the same time Cherokee County district attorney Elmer Beckworth offers probation to a Rusk Texas man who mutilated his own 12-month old daughter, and the district court voraciously accepts any and all plea bargains to over 3 dozen registered sex offenders within the county. Mark Bates’ child porn ring of 6 years ago apparently never ceased to exist outside the area, with ongoing federal sentences (such as Jeffrey Scott Ray of Nacogdoches and Toby Barnett of Lufkin, TX) never making it to the pressroom. The list continues.
Lon Morris College’s head golf coach Barry Dean Griffin, age 38, has been arraigned in federal court for possession and distribution of child pornography. Coach Barry Griffin was arrested Monday, June 9, 2008 after surrendering to federal authorities in Tyler, Texas. According to the June 10, 2008 issue of the Tyler Paper, Lon Morris faculty member Barry Griffin : “has been charged by complaint for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography on May 30 in Cherokee County [Texas]. If convicted, he could face 5 to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years in prison for the possession charge.”
Monday’s appearance by Griffin in front of Tyler, TX based US Magistrate Judge John Love was reported here first. He has not been formally indicted.
Lon Morris College coach Barry Dean Griffin
Barry Griffin is a junior college Kinesiology instructor and coach for Jacksonville, Texas based Lon Morris and has been since 2005. The Lon Morris men’s golf team took fourth place in a recently held NJCAA tournament in Huntsville, Alabama, with hotel accommodations arranged by the college. Griffin has also traveled out of state to Daytona, Florida where he accompanied the Lon Morris College girl’s golf team , who took a 4th place prize at the women’s NJCAA national championship games.
Similarly, the Jacksonville home of Rusk ISD drama coach Harold “Bo” Scallon was raided last year by federal authorities on a tip from the Longview, TX police department. The tip being that the High School teacher was distributing child pornography over the Internet. His personal laptop, school computer and hard drives were confiscated by the FBI. Scallon pleaded guilty on April 4, 2008 in federal court to possessing over 150 sadomasochistic images of minors. He taught for the Rusk Independent School District for nearly 30 years and with parents’ blessings, participated in numerous overnight ‘theater camps.’ Due to a plea agreement, his child porn distribution charge was dropped by federal prosecutors, though he still faces decades in federal prison. Certainly the community and school administrators will rally around to petition for Mr. Scallon’s early release and leniency prior to his sentencing date being reported. As they did with Alto, Texas postmaster Herbert Dominguez, prior to his federal sentencing for stealing $27,000 of United States Post Office material- but never reporting it.
Local Cherokee County, Texas media portray Rusk High School Theater class’ Bo Scallon official retirement and contractual obligations to the school district as ending in April 2007, prior to the FBI raid. However, Harold “Bo” Scallon’s continual employment with the Rusk ISD was apparent to the FBI because investigators seized his company computer from the Rusk High School and examined its hard drives. Forensics on his computers uncovered massive files storing violent and graphic depictions involving children.
mugshot of Rusk,TX teacher Harold “Bo” Scallon
The ongoing out-of-county reports of federal investigations compared to the nonexistent media coverage, nor local outcry, begs the question: Has Cherokee County, Texas always been a child molestation and child pornography refuge? Local offenders certainly do not have to worry about prison time if they cut deals with the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office after falling in the hands of Elmer Beckworth .
View the locations of registered child molesters living steps from the Rusk Texas courthouse and Rusk Texas Jr.-Sr. High Schools mapped on a website called FamilyWatchdog .
Found at: http://www.familywatchdog.us
Infant molesters (whose victims are as young as 1 to 6 years-old) all handed probation and local Adult Supervision by the Cherokee County district attorney’s office -and not spending one day in prison.
[known registered Rusk, TX sex offenders – courtesy of Family Watchdog]
As a footnote, Harold “Bo” Scallon was sentenced on Tuesday June 17, 2008 in the US District Courts to 6 1/2 years federal prison time for possessing Internet child pornography. He will remain under parole supervision for 5 years after completing his federal prison term. Had the Rusk ISD faculty member actually acted on his sick fantasies and molested a Jr. High student, then the Cherokee County district attorney would have offered Scallon a few months probation (just like Elmer Beckworth’s office did for Chris Hennessy, a Rusk Texas patrol officer offered a paltry probation sentence of months instead of years for raping a Rusk ISD Jr. High girl in 2004). Or Cherokee County prosecutors would simply ignore the problem like the community and Rusk school board has for the last 30 years of Harold “Bo” Scallon’s teaching career. The world may never know how many deals were struck to keep this guy’s perverted pastimes out of the Rusk ISD school bulletin and news.
Also buried in the archives and the local School Board meeting minutes is a report of another Rusk ISD school teacher and former Jacksonville High School faculty member, Brian Basse sentenced to 3 years TDCJ time in 2007 for sexual contact with a student. Explicit Instant Messages and photos were recovered from his laptop computer by the FBI. Basse had been a Rusk Texas school teacher for 7 years, before relocating from the Jacksonville ISD. Brian Basse’s 36 month sentence (which he may serve 80% of) was handed to him from the 2nd Judicial District Court in Rusk, TX.
And don’t forget about Josh Allen music teacher at the Jacksonville Christian Academy and youth minister for the Tyler Street Baptist Church being sentenced in 2007 to 4 years for possession of child pornography- over 600 graphic and violent images. Tyler Street Baptist Church is a long time polling place for voters in Cherokee County’s Precinct No. 15. The US District Court “noted that Allen has no past criminal history and that he had the support of his church – factors in issuing the relatively lenient sentence.” Great. Gregg County Texas charged Josh Allen for his porn distribution into their county, since Cherokee County Texas failed to do so. A local investigation was not required from the source because, as Allen told Federal Judge Leonard Davis during his January 4, 2007 sentencing, local authorities believed the choir director still “had an opportunity to be part of the solution to the problem” of child porn being distributed via the Internet from Cherokee County, Texas. Allen received the same lack of media attention coupled with an outpouring of local support as did Jeffrey Scott Ray and Toby Lynn Barnett. Ray’s residence in Nacogdoches, TX was raided by federal authorities in 2006 and his sentencing not reported; Jeffrey Ray Scott got 70 months in federal prison. Toby Barnett was charged with possession of child porn and given 3 years probation in 2002 for “not having a prior criminal record,” even though he had been convicted in Nacogdoches, TX for assault in 1996.
Just do a comparison on how the legal system operates 40 miles away in Smith County, Texas. For instance, the recent Wednesday June 18, 2008 sentencing of Daniel Wayne Tidwell, age 29 of Tyler, in the 241st District Court doling out 50 years state prison time. This is after Tidwell pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl. Daniel Tidwell did have prior felony convictions, but regardless was facing 5 years to life for the rape.
Don’t forget the crack down on the Mineola Swinger’s Club that has made national news, either. The third defendant out of a string of arrests, Patrick “Booger Red” Kelly , a foster parent, is on trial for drugging children 9 years-old and younger and forcing them to perform strip club-esque dances for patrons of Mineola, Texas’ honky tonk. A version of what Cherokee County, Texas’ counterfeit Christians have been doing for decades: exploiting children and getting away with it. Smith County CPS removed the children from the homes of participants beginning in 2004 when it became apparent drug use and sexual abuse was occurring in the “deeply religious community.” Also awaiting trial are Dennis Boyd and Rebecca Pittman; and Jimmy Dale and Shelia Darlene Sones. Local swingers in the East Texas sex ring Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Loraine Mayo were convicted and sentenced to life in prison earlier in May, for their involvement in making children perform sex acts on stage.
An even better recent comparison would be the 2006 trial in Smith County of a preacher named Jefferson Marion Moore, age 58 at the time, also the Dogwood City Daycare and Preschool operator convicted of molesting a 6 year-old girl left in his care. He was a full time pastor for the Dogwood City Chapel, or “Brother Jeff” as they called him. Jefferson Moore was convicted and sentenced to LIFE in prison for the rape he committed. Moore had been indicted on three counts of sexual assault of a minor involving a 6, 7 and 4 year-old. “Brother Jeff” Moore was also charged with retaliation after an altercation with Smith County prosecutors during courtroom deliberations and given 10 extra years. On the brighter side, the Tyler Paper reports in its June 25, 2008 edition that Jefferson Moore died of “natural causes” in his cellblock earlier this month after serving 2 years in prison. Dogwood City, Texas is a small unincorporated community on Lake Palestine and ideal retirement spot for district judges, located on the Cherokee County / Smith County border and 20 miles from downtown Jacksonville, Texas. No probation offers or lenient sentences for this child molester; the Smith County community certainly did not rally in support of the only preacher and licensed babysitter in their tiny town. Incidentally, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday June 25, 2008 that it is unconstitutional for states to execute child rapists. That will certainly keep Cherokee County’s sexual predator population on a steady incline.
Pastor Jefferson Moore (deceased), daycare owner and child molester
In April 2005, the Kilgore, Texas newspaper The Kilgore News Herald began an expose, aptly named “Child Pornography Big Problem in East Texas,” on how pervasive the crime was becoming.
Next month, more East Texas child molesters off the streets and in federal prison, such as Franklin Albert Pearce of Wood County, Texas gets life for the sexual assault of a 6 year-old girl. William Allen Pipes of Gilmer, TX pleads guilty to distributing child porn and faces 10 years.
In local school news, the superintendent of Overton ISD Dr. Mark Stretcher, after “unexpectedly” resigning his post in January due to a “personal illness and pressure” and subsequently throwing the Overton, TX school district in disarray- why Dr. Stretcher has been charged with felony theft of public funds. Stretcher pleaded guilty to ‘theft in office’ on Friday June 27, 2008. Beware Rusk County, Texas you are in a close second for most corrupt.
City of Rusk Texas bookkeeper indicted for embezzling $150,000 of government funds; wife of City of Jacksonville Texas Mayor Pro-Tem, Councilman District 1.
The Cherokeean Herald reports on its online March 12, 2008 issue that Rusk, TX city bookkeeper, Doris Robinson, wife of City of Jacksonville TX councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Hubert Robinson, has been indicted by a Cherokee County TX grand jury for stealing over $150,000 from the Rusk TX water department.
City of Rusk Texas bookkeeper Doris Robinson
Mrs. Doris Robinson worked at Rusk’s City Hall located at 408 N MAIN ST as the city Permit and Billing Clerk until she was promoted to City Bookkeeper in February 2006. Prior to taking office the article cites, Doris Robinson allegedly embezzled water department monies over a 2 year period. An unnoticed theft of upwards of $150 thousand in a city with the population of 5000 citizens. The Cherokee County TX grand jury met the second week in March 2008 and Mrs. Robinson’s indictment was not reported by the District Attorney’s office. The Cherokeean Herald reports it after the go-ahead from the District Attorney.
At printing The Jacksonville Daily Progress also has not printed the fact the wife of the city of Jacksonville’s Mayor Pro Tem had been indicted. Councilman Hubert Robinson’s wife posted bond on Monday March 10, 2008. Mr. Robinson is an active member of the historical Sweet Union Baptist Church located in Jacksonville Texas.
Councilman Hubert Robinson, Jacksonville TX (District 1)
After one year of misdirections, it is high time a grand jury was seated that was not designed to prolong the case into the millennia. The EDITOR doubts there will ever be a costly and embarrassing embezzlement trial; Doris Robinson will no doubt be granted immunity for spending the last year busily trying to pay back any missing funds, in restitution. Isn’t that always the way it always works when Cherokee County’s version of Christians get caught with their hands in the taxpayers’ coffers?
Alto Texas US Postmaster Herbert Michael Dominguez paid back nearly all the $27000 he stole from the post office and for his federal crime, Postmaster Dominguez gets to keep his federal pension if he successfully completes his one year probation sentence. Handed to him in late February 2008 by US District Judge Michael Schneider in Tyler, TX, because Dominguez was “such a good person who had never been in trouble before.”
So when Cherokee County’s version of “dignitaries” commit federal crimes, citizens will only get a glimpse of it in the Tyler TX newspaper 100 miles away.
And it came to pass. Because the whole world is going to be reading about it here.
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.
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
THE STATE OF TEXAS vs HENNESSY, CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL
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
A 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.”
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.