EMERGENCY COURT HEARING

An emergency court hearing was called by U.S. District Judge Janis Jack on Thursday, March 10 after incredibly serious allegations came up involving a Bastrop state-contracted facility.

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The Refuge is a facility contracted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, purpose is to care for female foster children who are victims of sex trafficking.

SERIOUS REPORT FILED

 Back on January 24th an employee at The Refuge filed a serious report against the facility. The very facility that was a safe place for former sex trafficked young girls were wrapped in the same sinister things.

MINOR VICTIMS

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The bombshell emergency court hearing involved 9 alleged perpetrators who victimized seven children, ages 11 to 17 inside The Refuge facility.

"The children were sexually and physically abused and suffered from neglectful supervision and medical neglect while at The Refuge." 

REVEALING LETTER

A letter from the DFPS revealed that an employee claimed: "a former staff member sold nude photos of two children in the facility’s care, using the proceeds to purchase illegal drugs and alcohol that were then supplied to the children."

NOTHING DONE FOR WEEKS

Another shocking twist was the victimized children remained in the facility for over a month after the abuse was first reported before being removed. The shocking claims were made in late January, however, the court and the court monitors — watchdogs of the foster care system appointed by the judge — were not notified until Thursday, March 10; talk about an absolute disaster.

MASSIVE OVERLOOKED MISTAKE

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Rich Richman, a DFPS associate commissioner for child protective investigation, told the court the children weren’t immediately removed from the facility because "investigators thought the person responsible had been fired." However, it turned out, some of the perpetrators had still been employed and the operation’s residential care director is believed to have known about the sexual abuse.

A spokesperson for The Refuge confirmed an employee was terminated after staff found out they had "allegedly coerced the residents into creating commercially sexual exploitation material." 

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JUDGE SLAMS SYSTEMIC FAILURE

Unfortunately, this is another case of how incredibly badly the system fails children in foster care and U.S. District Judge Janis Jack slammed DFPS for not immediately removing the children when the allegations of abuse were first reported, dubbing it yet another failure of the system.

A WORD FROM OUR GOVERNOR

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"The reports of child sex trafficking at The Refuge in Bastrop are abhorrent," Abbott said. "Child abuse of any kind won’t be tolerated in the state of Texas, and we are committed to ensuring these despicable perpetrators are brought to justice and punished to the fullest extent of the law."

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