Paper: Prison Administrator Supported Despite Sex Charges

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A Texas Youth Commission administrator charged with sexually abusing teenage inmates got continuing support from a supervisor despite recurring allegations against him, a newspaper investigation has found.

Ray Brookins is the former assistant superintendent of the West Texas State School in Pyote, where a sex scandal erupted in February. He pleaded not guilty this month to charges of sexually abusing young inmates.

The scandal has led to the resignations of several top youth commission officials, including the executive director and board.

Lydia Barnard, a former high-ranking director at the commission, chose not to fire or demote Brookins on at least five occasions over five years amid multiple abuse warnings and even though he was caught browsing pornographic Web sites at work, according to agency records obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

Barnard, 46, now serves as a midlevel supervisor after being demoted in January in a dispute with senior officials. She was formerly a director of juvenile prisons, responsible for several facilities.

Barnard would not agree to an interview with the newspaper. "I can tell you I've been made a scapegoat — by TYC, by legislators, by newspapers," she said in a brief telephone conversation.

She did not respond to a call to her home seeking additional comment Sunday.

Brookins is charged with two counts of improper relationship with a student, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and two counts of improper sexual activity with a person in custody, a felony punishable by up to two years in state prison.

John Paul Hernandez, the former principal at the Pyote school, has also been charged. Brookins and Hernandez were accused of sexually abusing six inmates ages 16 to 19.

Brookins and Hernandez were allowed to resign from the agency.