According to police in Austin, Texas, Billy Dan Carroll spent the better part of the past three decades assaulting and raping dozens of victims -- from girls as young as two years of age to adult women whom he lured to his home and then drugged into unconsciousness.
His alleged acts ("alleged" because Mr. Carroll has yet to be convicted of a crime) are reportedly documented on videotapes kept in his possession.
Austin police Sgt. Brian Lloyd, a 22-year veteran child abuse investigator, has rarely seen the like of Mr. Carroll, who he describes as “the worst of the worst…. Several of these children were abused multiple times.” One six-year-old girl was allegedly raped twenty-three times.
Carroll made a handsome living operating a court recording [in fact, it was a court reporting service, not a court "recording" service; I regret the error -- WNG] business before he was inspired to volunteer for compassionate community service: In 2004, he became a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for abused children. This means that he worked -- albeit as a volunteer -- for the same Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that recently abducted 460 children at gunpoint from their parents at the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
It also means that Carroll was given access to many children -- some of them, perhaps, from abusive homes, others from homes and parents that were not abusive by any reasonable standard, but nonetheless were deemed unsatisfactory by the omniscient custodians of the State's children at the Texas DFPS.
In fact, it was through his work as a CASA on behalf of the Texas child "protection" bureaucracy that Carroll became acquainted with the 8-year-old girl whom he most recently molested, according to a criminal indictment. Understandably, other parents who suspect that Carroll may have taken indecent liberties with their children have been "flooding" the CASA organization with phone calls.
Credit must be given to the Austin Police Department for the professional fashion in which they have built their case against Mr. Carroll. His home -- which was never referred to as a "compound," incidentally -- was the subject of a search warrant that was issued on the basis of solid evidence, rather than an anonymous phone call from an obviously demented woman. Specific evidence was sought, found, and secured. Carroll was brought before a judge in a timely fashion and indicted on specific charges and given steep ($2 million) but reasonable bail.
This was done, incidentally, without sending in SWAT operators in paramilitary drag and deploying an APC and sniper teams. Nor was the entire neighborhood in which Carroll lived cordoned off and treated as one huge crime scene, with the neighbors being looked on as co-conspirators with Carroll on the basis of propinquity.
The search warrants and all photographic evidence against Mr. Carroll have been sealed, which is entirely appropriate: It wouldn't be wise to taint the jury pool against the suspect by publicizing salacious (and speculative) details or circulating lurid photographs.
Laura Wolf, executive director of the CASA program, made a point of telling the media that the suspect's application and background check are protected from public scrutiny by a confidentiality agreement. So until and unless those documents are subpoenaed and presented in court, we have no way of knowing whether CASA and the agency it answers to ignored any evidence that Carroll had been a practicing pederast for decades when they agreed to let him have access to vulnerable children.
Ms. Wolf, it should be remembered, played a conspicuous role in the seizure of more than 460 young people -- children, for the most part, but a handful of adult mothers who were deliberately mis-identified by CPS as "pregnant minors" -- from the FLDS community. I don't recall reading her protests over the due process irregularities that led to this mass kidnapping. Nor can I seem to turn up any publicly expressed misgivings from Ms. Wolf over the widespread selective publicity given by CPS to various documents seized from the FLDS -- including confidential church rosters and lurid photographs of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs that were introduced as a cynical PR gesture in a custody hearing to which those pictures were not germane.
Ms. Wolf helped scatter the FLDS children from one end of Texas to another, secreting them into a foster care and child welfare program riven with corruption and rife with abuse. To her credit, one of her public comments about the FLDS matter makes incontestable sense: "This particular story has gotten a lot of attention and piques a lot of interest. But there are children all over the state who are experiencing abuse and neglect every day."
Indeed. Many of them are being abused in that same child welfare system. In fact, one of them was probably being molested by Mr. Carroll as that sound-bite dribbled down Ms. Wolf's chin.
Carroll isn't the only opportunistic sexual predator recently uncovered in the Texas child welfare system.
Roughly a year ago, a 13-year veteran Child Protective Services caseworker named Frederick Shavers was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct involving a 15-year-old girl whom he was supervising. According to police in Grand Prairie, there was "a mountain of evidence" that Shavers began a sexual "relationship" with the young girl -- an unwed teenage mother -- when she was thirteen years of age.
Shavers was 37 years old and married with two children at the time of his arrest. This means he was 35, and his inamorata was 13, when they began their affair. Gee golly Ned, it seems to me that Mr. Shavers was doing exactly what the agency that employed him said was happening at the YFZ Ranch. The significant difference here, of course, is that CPS didn't bother to prove any of the things it professed to "know" about the FLDS community -- and Shavers was forced to resign in April before being arrested last June.
Furthermore, it appears that this was not the first time that Shavers had been accused of sexual misconduct and other improprieties. According to the Dallas News, Shavers "has been the subject of several prior CPS inquiries" regarding his conduct.
In 1994, a 12-year-old girl "accused Mr. Shavers of kissing her during horseplay at a pool in Greenville." Seven years later, he ended up in a fight with a 20-year-old man whom he had taken into his home as a minor in CPS custody. Just the week prior to his resignation from CPS in April 2007, Shavers was accused of coaching a child "about how to testify in a family court in Hunt County." The purpose of that coaching, explains the News, "was to make it seem like he was doing his job more thoroughly" than he had, according to the child's mother.
Remember, Shavers at the time of his 2007 resignation had been with CPS for thirteen years; that meant that the first allegation of sexual misbehavior came immediately after he was hired by the agency. And his work record ended with allegations of suborning perjury from a child witness.
Shavers supervised an estimated 600 children during his career as a caseworker. His case records are under police scrutiny on the assumption that other children were abused in various ways by the former child-saver.
But CPS, of course, did nothing wrong in keeping Shavers on the payroll for over a decade. Agency spokeswoman Marissa Gonzalez insisted that CPS "handled Mr. Shavers appropriately during his career," observes the News: "I think each of those incidents was handled appropriately."
Let us be clear about an important distinction: There are no due process considerations regarding a job on the public payroll. It's not necessary to prove an allegation beyond reasonable doubt in order to terminate the employment of a bureaucrat accused of a sexual offense against a child (although the allegation should be kept confidential pending any criminal proceedings). Had CPS been genuinely interested in child safety it would have excised Frederick Shavers from their roster in 1994.
But Shavers was given the benefit of every doubt. The same was quite possibly true of Billy Dan Carroll. The innocent FLDS parents, of course, enjoyed no such deference.
Mother and child reunion -- for now: Freed from the criminal clutches of the Texas CPS, a boy ecstatically hugs his mother. Unfortunately, the CPS still has that child in its crosshairs.
And now, despite the fact that the Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that the entire abuse case against the FLDS community is a legal travesty, those long-suffering parents are still subject to an ongoing criminal probe -- as well as a species of home imprisonment under the arbitrary and plenary authority of the same agency that sheltered at least one known child molester and -- given the Carroll case -- quite possibly many more.
Barbara Walther, the criminally inept judge who issued both of the defective search warrants for the YFZ Ranch and the order separating the FLDS parents from their children, was the recipient of a brutal "bench slap"* from the Texas Supreme Court. That court ruled that the "removal of the children was not warranted" by the available evidence, and that Walther had "abused" her discretion by issuing the order to remove them.
Now, of course, Walther couldn't simply acknowledge her errors and do her best to undo them by repealing her order. She had to do something to maintain the pretense that her opinions about this case are somehow more respectable than those of any other self-important harridan.
So, in an act of consummate petulance, she refused to rescind her order last Friday. To the astonishment of all present, Walthers stalked out of the courtroom without concluding business, leaving counsel and spectators alike to gag on the stench of her toxic arrogance and spite.
"C'mon, boys -- we've got families to destroy!" Protected by an armed phalanx, Judge Barbara Walther strides with purposeful malice toward the courtroom.
This was most likely done as a way of making the FLDS parents that much more pliant when Walthers (a veteran of the totalitarian family court system) presented them with her terms on Monday. According to the New York Times, Walther's order "imposed a lengthy list of caveats pending the conclusion of the investigation, including surprise home visits by caseworkers, possible psychiatric evaluation of the children and a ban on travel outside Texas."
Two things must be kept in mind.
First, the CPS is known to harbor child molesters among its caseworkers and legal volunteers. Walther's order compels these innocent parents to associate with a tainted population that could include child sex offenders.
Second, those parents -- once again -- are innocent before the law. They have been convicted of nothing, indicted for nothing -- indeed, they haven't been charged with any offense. Yet they are now imprisoned at their ranch by judicial degree, subject to the invasion of their property at the whim of a manifestly corrupt, incompetent, and hostile government bureaucracy, and forbidden the freedom to travel that is the indefeasible right of every American citizen.
The CPS is still engaged in a criminal enterprise, and Walther is their fully enlisted accomplice. That agency will not relent until someone in the FLDS community is railroaded into court as an abuser, thereby permitting the child-snatchers to try, once again, to prosecute the entire community under the novel doctrine of collective criminal guilt devised especially for this case.
Perhaps the only way that the CPS could be more cynical and devious would be to assign caseworkers known to be child abusers to supervise FLDS families -- and then demand the prosecution of the parents for associating with known abusers.
Update: Toss The Wench Off The Bench!
It may be entirely symbolic, of course, but a petition is being circulated calling for Judge Walther's impeachment.
*I owe that expression -- along with a fair piece of what we've learned about this case and the illustration at the top of this essay -- to the exceptionally fine writer who produces the Grits for Breakfast blog.
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Don't let the sun go down without doing something to piss of the keepers of The List!