As Texas Youth Commission sex assault cases went to a West Texas grand jury yesterday, a fizzled federal inquiry showed that prosecuting such cases is not so easy as it might seem, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Federal prosecutors cite several difficulties pursuing charges, including insufficient evidence that two administrators were acting officially when having sex with youths at the school; difficulty in proving that sexual relations were not consensual (including a lack of bodily injury to victims); and a belief by supervisors that the cases would not result in felony charges.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation resulted in no charges being filed. “These are often not easy cases,” said Gina DeBottis, head of Texas’ Special Prosecution Unit, which handles cases from the adult prison system. Juries and judges frequently acquitted those charged, reasoning that the sex was either consensual or that the victim, a convicted criminal, was not credible.