Kim Ogg calls conduct by district attorney's office 'irresponsible'

HOUSTON – District Attorney-elect Kim Ogg called a press conference Tuesday to say a handful of outgoing prosecutors appear to have re-victimized crime victims in a way that’s unethical and could even be illegal.

“It appears these prosecutors are involved in contacting victims and deliberately providing them information, misinformation that upsets them,” Ogg said.

Ogg said she’d received complaints from crime victims’ families claiming to have been contacted by callers identifying themselves as prosecutors.

She said they deliberately misinformed crime victims about the status of their pending cases and then told them to call Ogg personally to complain.

“I would suggest this is not just unethical, but possibly illegal conduct,” Ogg said.

Among the examples provided is the case of a mother who Ogg said complained that she’d been told the man accused of raping her child had been released after the prosecutor dismissed the case, and that the woman’s calls to Nick Socias were not returned.

“I had a rape victim’s mother call me from New York to say she received a message from V.I.N.E. (victim notification service) that the suspect was being released. Unfortunately, she was not contacted by the prosecutor handling her case, (whom) she identified as Nick Socias,” Ogg said.

Socias, however, said Ogg is wrong. Court records show the referenced case is still active and set for trial. Socias also provided KPRC with a copy of an email he had sent to the victim’s mother Sunday night stating he was no longer with the district attorney’s office and a new prosecutor would be assigned to the case. He suggested she call Ogg if she had questions, and included Ogg’s phone number.

File: Email from Kim Ogg

“It just doesn't seem appropriate and, on top of being incorrect, it seems inappropriate and just shocking that she's willing to go through all these steps and these great lengths when she knows she's wrong and knows it's false, just to try and continue, I guess, dragging me through the mud,” Socias told KPRC.

Socias said Ogg could have easily verified these details before holding a news conference. Socias said he is now considering filing a defamation lawsuit against Ogg.

Socias’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, said, “What Kim represented to the public at large, and naming this prosecutor in a derogatory way, is flat-out untrue.”

Ogg also said she received a complaint from a sex trafficking victim “who told me her case was pled to a very low amount, and that the prosecutor who did it asked her to call me, and complain because he had been fired.” Ogg identified the prosecutor as Assistant Harris County D.A. Justin Keiter.

Tuesay afternoon Keiter sent out a written statement saying that Ogg’s allegation is false, and demanded a retraction and apology.

File: Statement from ADA Justin Keiter

Ogg said all of the facts have yet to be confirmed. Along with calling on outgoing District Attorney Devon Anderson to open an investigation, Ogg said she intends to open an investigation of her once she takes office in January to determine exactly what information was transmitted, by whom and if it was appropriate.

A spokesman for Anderson had no comment except to say prosecutors are required by law to inform crime victims of changes in the status of their cases.