Attorney of jailed rape victim says DA lied in video statement

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The attorney for a rape victim who suffered a mental breakdown on the stand at her rapist’s trial and was then put in jail so prosecutors could make sure she returned to testify said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson lied in a videotaped statement responding to a KPRC Channel 2 investigation.

Anderson refused to face on-camera questions as Channel 2 investigated the case of Jenny, who was raped by serial rapist Keith Hendricks.

[READ CHANNEL 2 INVESTIGATION: Rape victim put in jail after breakdown on witness stand]

Anderson responded to the Channel 2 investigation Wednesday with a video posted on YouTube and her Facebook account.In the video statement, Anderson said she stands by her office’s decision to hold Jenny in jail for a month until she would be called to testify again.

“How were we to assume that a homeless, mentally ill victim of an aggravated sex assault would return to testify at the trial of her rapist when that victim was going through a life-threatening mental health crisis and had expressed her intention not to testify?” Anderson asked.

Jenny’s attorney, Sean Buckley -- who is suing the Hendricks’ case prosecutor, a jail guard, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and Harris County -- calls Anderson’s statement a lie.

Buckley said Jenny was not homeless when she came to testify against her attacker or after she was eventually released from jail.

Buckley said Anderson misled viewers.

“She has to know that is (a) false statement because her investigators were the ones who went there to pick Jenny up at her apartment and bring her to Houston to testify,” Buckley told investigative reporter Jace Larson Wednesday. “Now that I know the district attorney’s office is willing to lie to the public about the facts of this case, I’ve got to protect my client. I’ll be sending out subpoenas for their emails and phone records.”

WITNESSES PLACED IN JAIL

Channel 2 Investigates has asked the Harris County District Clerk’s Office and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office how many times a witness has been placed in jail to assure the witness will be available to testify.

Numbers had not been released as of Wednesday.

A written statement Tuesday, issued by Anderson’s office, said, "Witness bonds are a common tool used by prosecutors and defense attorneys.”

A day later, she suggested her office does not use it frequently.

“We rarely do this, but when a case calls for it to be done we are willing to make that hard decision,” she said.

Anderson said she works hard for crime victims.

“This office has a long history of supporting victims of crime. To claim otherwise is outrageous,” she said. “I have carefully reviewed the case and fully support our prosecutor’s actions. It bears repeating: This was a difficult decision and there were no apparent alternatives that would ensure the victim’s safety and her appearance at trial.”

Buckley said there were alternatives.

If you have information about this story, contact investigative reporter Jace Larson at jlarson@kprc.com or 832-493-3951.

2016 Click2Houston.com/KPRC 2