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|Current Court Information:|
|Texas District 21|
In the news
Girl sent back to live with sex offender is raped; Judge Flenniken sued
On October 8, 2013, the Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL) filed a lawsuit against former judge Flenniken, alleging that he mishandled a juvenile case that resulted in a rape of a minor.
Flenniken had ordered a girl, referred to in court documents as S.R.L., to be sent back home to live with her grandmother, even though her grandmother's boyfriend, Edward Clinton Lee, was a registered sex offender. The grandmother, Jean Slovacek-Storm, had joint custody of the 15-year-old girl with the girl's mother.
S.R.L. was pregnant and appeared before Flenniken to ask if she could stop living with her grandmother. She said she was being pressured to have an abortion. She also described various incidents where Lee had made sexual advances toward her. She said he had tried to pay her to strip down for him, and he came into the bathroom to take pictures of her while she was in the shower. She also said she slept in her clothes, rather than pajamas, so that he could not see her changing. Flenniken decided the girl should continue to live with her grandmother.
About six months later, on June 29, 2012, Lee shot and killed Slovacek-Storm and violently assaulted S.R.L. sexually. The girl was tied up, but eventually escaped out a window and found a police officer. Lee was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, sexual assault and kidnapping.
Stephen Casey, an attorney for the TCDL, stated,
|“||So much pain and agony could have been spared for the girl and her family if Judge Flenniken did what any judge in the country would have done and ordered the girl out of the home of the sex offender.||”|
Flenniken defended himself, stating,
|“||I have now had the opportunity to read the lawsuit filed against me and state unequivocally that the factual allegations alleged in the lawsuit are false. My record speaks for itself and reflects the highest degree of concern for the protection of children. I will vigorously defend myself against this frivolous lawsuit, in the proper forum, which is a court of law.||”|
Flenniken is not the only one who is being sued. The lawsuit also names S.R.L.'s teacher Bliss Bednar, Assistant Principal Vance Skidmore and Principal Bradley Vestal, as well as the Caldwell Independent School District. It alleges that the topic of sexual abuse was raised by S.R.L. in one of her English papers. Bednar alerted Skidmore and Vestal, who called S.R.L.'s guardian, her grandmother. The lawsuit then states that the grandmother and Lee made S.R.L. apologize to the school for lying in her paper. Along with the lawsuit, Bednar, Skidmore and Vestal are facing a misdemeanor charges for failing to report the incident.
Flenniken filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The hearing was originally scheduled for November, but was delayed and took place on December 16, 2013.
Motion to dismiss granted
Judge Carson Campbell dismissed the lawsuit brought by the TCDL. The organization was suing the judge for his ruling, which returned a girl to her grandmother, who was her legal guardian. The grandmother was living with a convicted sex offender who subsequently murdered the grandmother and sexually assaulted the girl. The principle of judicial immunity protects judges from being sued for decisions or rulings they make while on the bench, so the suit could not go forward against Flenniken. However, the other parties named in the lawsuit were not dismissed from the case.
According to an article in The Eagle, Mike McKetta, Flenniken's attorney, said,
|“||'If we had allowed people to sue judges when they're unhappy with a decision, then half of our lawsuits would be against judges. . .||”|
- WND, "Girl raped after judge sends to sex offender's home," October 10, 2013
- Huffington Post, "Former Judge, Terrill L. Flenniken, Sued For Returning Teen To Sex Offender," October 9, 2013
- 21st District
- CNS News.com, "Judge Sued After Sending Teen Back to Home Where She Was Then Raped," October 9, 2013
- WND, "Girl Raped After Judge Sends to Sex Offender's Home," October 9, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Statesman.com, "Group sues former 21st District Judge Terry Flenniken," October 11, 2013
- KWHI, "Retired Judge Flennikan continuing to fight lawsuit," November 26, 2013
- The Eagle, "Court tosses lawsuit against district judge," December 18, 2013