The superintendent of the Texas Youth Commission’s Marlin Orientation and Assessment Unit lied to investigators when questioned about allegations of sexual abuse at the facility, according to the affidavit submitted for an arrest warrant Friday.
Texas Rangers arrested Superintendent Jerome Parsee, 53, Friday morning at his office and led him in handcuffs to a waiting patrol car.
He’s charged with false report to a peace officer, a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum possible sentence of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
He was released Friday evening after posting a $1,500 bond.
The arrest was the first of a top TYC official since the sexual abuse scandal surfaced.
It came a little more than two weeks after teams of investigators including Texas Rangers and representatives of the Texas Attorney General’s Office fanned out to all 22 TYC facilities across the state in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse of juvenile inmates at a unit in West Texas.
The affidavit says Parsee told investigators from the Texas Rangers, the Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Department of Corrections on March 6 that “there had never been any allegations of sexual assault” at the Marlin unit, a 436-bed facility that serves as the first stop for any juvenile committed to the TYC.
But over the next few days, the affidavit says, investigators became aware of specific sexual allegations involving staff and inmates at the Marlin unit.
One involved a female inmate who claimed she was sexually assaulted in a broom closet.
Another involved a juvenile inmate who witnessed two staff members “having sexual contact” in the back of dorm.
In another case, a staff member allegedly allowed a juvenile inmate to touch her breasts.
A 12-year-old female inmate claimed a doctor inappropriately touched her during an examination.
And there was what the affidavit described as a more recent allegation of a staff member performing oral sex on one juvenile inmate while another juvenile watched.
The affidavit says investigators questioned Parsee specifically about the oral sex allegation.
Parsee, the affidavit said, responded that the incident wasn’t sexual abuse, but something more like “inappropriate relations.”
The abuse scandal erupted last month after media reports of an agency internal investigation that found that many prison staffers at the West Texas State School in Pyote had complained about sex abuse of inmates by employees to their immediate bosses and to officials in Austin, but for more than a year, no one in charge did anything to stop it.
A Texas Rangers investigation in early 2005 found that the prison's assistant superintendent and the school's principal had repeated sexual contact with inmates.
‘The TYC operates 13 institutions and nine halfway houses including the Marlin unit, the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart and the John Shero State Juvenile Correctional Facility in San Saba.