Two Texas Youth Commission administrators accused of sexually abusing juvenile inmates have been ordered to stand trial later this year.
But still to be decided is whether John Paul Hernandez and Ray E. Brookins will be tried in the West Texas city of Monahans. Lawyers for both men told state District Judge Bob Parks this week that they believe it is impossible to seat an impartial jury in lightly populated Ward County.
The judge gave the lawyers until February to file requests to move the trials.
The trial date for Mr. Brookins, the former assistant superintendent at TYC's West Texas State School in Pyote, was set for April 28. He has been indicted on charges of improper relationship with a student and improper sexual activity with a person in custody.
Mr. Hernandez, former principal at the Pyote prison, was indicted on charges of sexual assault, improper sexual activity with a person in custody and improper relationship with a student. Judge Parks set his trial for June 2.
The men were indicted last year. Both have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail.
The Dallas Morning News reported in February that TYC officials ignored complaints of suspicious behavior by the two men for months, and in some cases retaliated against employees who made the complaints.
Those revelations, and disclosures of other abuses at TYC prisons, prompted a sweeping legislative overhaul last year of TYC's management and operations.
From staff and wire reports
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