Brazos County to pay half a million dollars to settle brutal sexual assault case at county jail

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 7:53 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County will be paying $500,000 to a man who says he was sexually assaulted as a minor when he was being detained in the Brazos County Detention Center.

In December 2022, the victim was 17 years old at the time and was held on misdemeanor charges that were eventually dropped, according to court documents. The man alleges he was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by three other inmates, who were also 17 at the time of the attack.

A Texas Jail Commission on Jail Standards report shows the facility was out of compliance with observation checks, according to Dean Malone, a constitutional rights lawyer representing the victim. According to state records, this was a self-admission during an inspection with the TJCS. However, it was not a reason for placing the facility in non-compliance the Sheriff’s Office said.

According to a statement released last year by the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were made aware of the incident on Sunday, October 9, 2022.

Deputies say the victim was sexually assaulted with a bar of soap and a broomstick handle. The victim also said he was nearly “choked to death” by the other inmates and was threatened multiple times with rape and assault and was forced to turn over his personal account information for the jail phone system and commissary account. The inmate was also beaten to the point that he suffered bodily injuries and temporary loss of hearing.

Malone said it’s taken months to reach the point of accepting the half-million-dollar settlement.

This is the full statement from Malone.

“We were forced to litigate this case for several months, fighting for the opportunity to even learn more about what happened behind the scenes through the normal lawsuit discovery process. Brazos County attempted to keep our law firm from obtaining information, including through the taking of depositions of witnesses. We fortunately overcame those attempts and were able to begin taking depositions of witnesses this week. Coincidentally, but perhaps not, Brazos County decided to make a $500,000.00 offer of judgment as our attempts began to dig deeper into what happened. Our client will accept Brazos County’s offer to avoid reliving the nightmare that began in the jail and which would be perpetuated through lengthy litigation. It is unfortunate that it took months of litigation before Brazos County chose to do what it should have done in the beginning – resolve these claims.”

The Sexual Assault Resource Center says this is a common barrier in reporting and receiving justice for sexual assault victims.

“Sometimes that survivor testimony is so important and vital to the case that we can’t move forward and so cases do get closed or dropped because of that and it’s just a huge barrier that survivors unfortunately have to endure and really reach traumatize themselves to move forward in their criminal justice case,” Executive Director, Lindsey LeBlanc, said.

According to the terms of the settlement, the payment does not mean the county is accepting liability for claims.

KBTX has reached out to the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office regarding policies. They released the following statement.

“Unfortunately, as the matter is not fully resolved from a legal standpoint, we cannot discuss anything pertaining to the case. We understand this is of interest to the public. We will send out a full statement when we are legally able to do so. Again thank you for reaching out to the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office on this matter.”

Press Release by KBTX on Scribd