After a call for justice by juvenile victims who were sexually assaulted in Falfurrias, numbers released by the Department of Family and Protective Services shows Brooks County having the highest confirmed cases of Sexual Assault against Children in the entire South Texas region.
According to John Lennan, media relations officer of the Department of Family and Protective Services, says “all data can be reviewed on on our website“.
Lennan says all the numbers are reported each year with all numbers being shown until December 31, 2020. As for the latest year being reported for 2020, Brooks County climbs to the top per capita at 28 children being confirmed to be sexually assaulted out of 1,000 children. Brooks County is three times higher than the average of 9 children per 1,000 children being sexually assaulted in Texas.
Lennan says that these numbers only account for children being sexually assaulted by their parents or caregivers, and not strangers or random others. “The numbers could be much higher if you asks the police chief of Falfurrias, which is the largest town in Brooks County” says John Lennan.
Brooks County District Attorney Oscar Omar Garcia Interview on Sexual Assaults
In an exclusive one on one interview with the Corpus Christi Crónica, Brooks County District Attorney Oscar Omar Garcia spoke with us in regard to the high rate of Sexual Assaults on Children at the Jim Wells County Courthouse on June 3rd.
Carlos Omar Garcia starts out by saying that Jim Wells and Brooks County doesn’t have the resources because they’re a rural county compared to the resources that Harris County or Houston, Texas has. Many of the children who have been sexually assaulted have to be transferred to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Corpus Christi to be evaluated because it is the nearest place that deal with sexual crimes against children.
Garcia goes on and tells the Crónica that he has jurisdiction of Brooks County and calls it one of the poorest counties in Texas. “When a patrolman is dispatched to a Child Sexual Assault crime, they’re the investigator, because we don’t have have a child abuse unit in Alice or Falfurrias” says Garcia. Both counties also do not have a specialized prosecutor to crack the whip on perpetrators who commit sexual assault in Falfurrias, Alice, San Diego, and even Orange Grove.
The Jim Wells County Courthouse has one district court with one district judge that over hears county court at law and district court cases. In the 79th District Court, District Judge Richard Terell hasn’t had any jury trials due to pandemic reasons and has even given low bail bonds for charges such as sexual assault of a minor and murder.
The Texas Supreme Court and the Office Court of Administration have placed strict guidelines on many counties that have limited the jail capacity for those sitting in jail awaiting trial.
“When it comes to sexual assault, we put out the resources for victims of crime that are readily available”Oscar Omar Garcia
The Call For Justice in Brooks County
A woman living in Brooks County says that her daughter was sexually assaulted in 2014 and it has been over six years and nothing has been done as far as punishment goes to date. Samantha Pena, from Falfurrias, Texas says that Oscar Omar Garcia has ignored her daughters outcry and believes the district attorney is allowing the suspect to get away with the crimes.
Newell Atkinson, an Alice resident and real estate businessman says “largest problem that Jim Wells has is the lack of prosecution. There are burglars that still haven’t been indicted and stil out on the street. The crime problem isn’t going to be solved without vigorous prosecution”.
District Attorney Oscar Omar Garcia for both Brooks and Jim Wells County says that he expects for the grand jury to be paneled in September and jury trials are also expected to commence in August. As for the cases that have been on the back burner for over five years, he says those older cases will be prioritized.
17 year old Genesse Cantu, a victim of sexual assault has also been proactive on social media calling out for justice. She says her case has been swept underneath the rug in Brooks County for over a decade. The perpetrator is still on the loose, which happens to be her own father.
In a recent high profile case in Orange Grove, Texas, a man that wants to remain anonymous, says that a student at Orange Grove High School was restrained by multiple students and than sexually assaulted on video camera on April 29, 2021. Six students were arrested and many parents felt that they should have all been charged for Sexual Assault rather than Unlawful Restraint since the video depicts a male forcing their private parts onto another student while being held down. “Enough is enough, it’s time that the district attorney crack the whip on these sexual assaults” says the man from Orange Grove, Texas.
This is a developing story, check back for updates on this investigative series.