HOUSTON – A prominent Houston attorney called a news conference to defend a Harris County assistant district attorney in the wake of KPRC 2's investigation into the jailing of a rape victim.
Channel 2 Investigates first reported the story in July. The rape victim, "Jenny," suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her attacker. Channel 2 Investigates has reported, at a prosecutor's behest, a judge signed an order to have Jenny placed in jail to ensure she would show up again to testify.
The prosecutor wanted Jenny to stay with her mother, but her mother told the prosecutor she would not be able to adequately care for her due to the fact that she was dealing with Stage 4 cancer at the time.
District attorney Devon Anderson has previously said her prosecutor, Nick Socias, tried to find a mental health care facility for Jenny, but overcrowding at the time made jail the only option. Channel 2 Investigates has reported when Jenny was put in jail some staff members were confused as to whether she was a victim or a suspect.
Court documents read Anderson stated Jenny did not "receive proper care in the Harris County jail," and "the system broke down in the jail."
"We're talking about a suicidal risk, we're talking about mental health problems, we're talking about her being a victim, that's why she's here," Socias said. "I say well that's not acceptable because I'm telling you she needs further treatment."
Attorney Rusty Hardin said in a press release Thursday that he will release emails that show a recent ad highlighting KPRC2's investigation and featuring Jenny's mother are misleading due to the fact that Hardin claims the "ads fail to account for the prosecutor's (Socias') desperate attempt to find someone to safely take custody of the young woman."
"I think that it's only fair that if she's going to do commercials and sue him, that it be pointed out that she deliberately said I cannot handle her, I will not handle her," Hardin said.
Hardin also claims the "ads do not explain that this happened because the victim's mother kicked her daughter out of her home and refused to let her live with her during the pendency of the trial."
Jenny's mother is suing Harris County and Socias.