AUSTIN (AP) _ A Texas Youth Commission superintendent quit before she was fired after allowing two juvenile inmates to work alongside an adult whose probation banned him from working unsupervised with minors, an agency investigation revealed.
Lisa Cooke, who had headed the McFadden Ranch in Roanoke in Denton County for five years, also accepted cash from relatives of inmates at the facility for youths with substance abuse problems, according to documents obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Cooke's attorney, Christian Dennie of Dallas, refused to comment beyond a prepared statement in which he said commenting on the report "may jeopardize my client's legal position." He said he couldn't comment further because of "pending legal matters."
When contacted by The Associated Press, Cooke also refused to comment.
"Obviously, the proper care of the kids in our custody is our No. 1 priority, and these reports show that not the best judgment was used in these incidents," TYC spokeman Jim Hurley said.
The incidents were revealed during 2007 testimony before a legislative committee on allegations of widespread sexual abuse at TYC. The scandal caused several top officials to resign and the agency was put in conservatorship as state lawmakers began overhauling it last year.
The two inmates did yardwork at the home of a TYC staffer in 2007 with the adult, who was on probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The adult had previously been arrested but not charged with aggravated sexual assault.
The man's probation officer and the officer's supervisor had told youth commission officials he wasn't allowed to work unsupervised with minors.
Cooke, given the choice to resign or face termination, quit April 11, ending a 25-year career with the commission.
Cooke, who had accepted $500 and $400 donations from a relative of offenders in January 2007, was also faulted for violating the agency's "guiding principles on common sense and reason." Most of the $500 donation was used to throw a Super Bowl party for the youngsters at McFadden.
After concerns were raised about how a donation from an offender's family might be interpreted, the $400 donation was returned.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.