The Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL) filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Judge Terry Flenniken for failing to protect a minor by knowingly sending her back into the home of her guardian, who lived with a registered sex offender. Four months following Flenniken’s order, the minor was raped and witnessed the sex offender murder her guardian.
According to a press release, TCDL included in the lawsuit three school officials who failed to report the sexual abuse that the minor related to them.
In a press conference in Austin, TCDL announced the lawsuit and requested that Attorney General Greg Abbott file criminal charges as well.
“There is no excuse for Judge Flenniken’s poor decision,” said TCDL attorney Greg Terra. “He knew exactly what the minor was dealing with in her home situation and that she lived with Edward Clinton Lee, 54, a registered sex offender, and yet still sent her back to live with him and her guardian instead of granting the petition to release her to her biological mother.”
According to CNS News, in the fall of 2011 the girl wrote a school essay in which she described the sexual abuse in her home but changed the names of the characters as instructed by Bliss Bednar, a middle school counselor and teacher. The girl described the rape she experienced at the hands of Lee in the essay.
The lawsuit indicates that Bednar consulted with Caldwell High School Principal Vance Skidmore and High School Principal Bradley Vestal about the essay. In turn, the administrators contacted the girl’s guardian, her step-grandmother Jean Slovacek, who lived in Caldwell, Texas with her boyfriend, Edward Clinton Lee.
Having received that information from the administrators, Slovacek and Lee confronted the girl and admonished her for “lying in her paper to get Eddie in trouble,” said Terra. The girl “was immediately driven to the school and forced to apologize to Bednar, Skidmore, and Vestal for ‘lying’ in her paper.”
According to the lawsuit, “At no point did Bednar, Skidmore, or Vestal act, based on their special relationship with [the minor girl], to intervene and protect [her]. They had a duty to act based on their special relationship with [her].”
Three months later in February 2012, the girl became pregnant by her teenage boyfriend. She informed her biological mother that she wanted to keep the child, though her guardian and Lee were coercing her to have an abortion. The biological mother contacted TCDL, which subsequently filed to release the minor to her biological mother.
Judge Flenniken, however, denied TCDL’s request and ordered the then-15-year old girl to be returned to the home of her guardian and Lee, where she had the abortion.
Prior to delivering his decision, Flenniken spoke privately to the girl, who told him of her living conditions, including times when Lee repeatedly “accidentally” walked in on her in the shower, and she would barricade her door with her dresser every night for fear of him. Nevertheless, Flenniken sent her back to the same home.
Four months later, Lee raped the girl and then shot and killed Slovacek.
In April of 2013, Lee pleaded guilty to murdering Slovacek and to raping and kidnapping the minor girl. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The three school officials, Bednar, Skidmore, and Vestal, were indicted in August by a grand jury for failing to report the essay to authorities.
In an email statement to Breitbart News, Stephen Casey, TCDL attorney, said, “No judge, school official or other mandatory reporting personnel should be exempt from the law, especially when it comes to such horrific crimes against children.”
“The young girl has been through an immense amount of physical, psychological and emotional pain, not only because of the time she was forced to live with a registered sex offender, but also due to the fact she was carrying a wanted baby and was forced to have an abortion,” Casey said in his statement. “It is our hope the judge and school officials are held accountable for their actions.”