Mother of rape victim thrown in jail claims DA never returned calls

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A rape victim named Jenny was jailed, because prosecutors worried she would not show up to testify at her rapist's trial.

Jenny's mother, who fought for 27 days to get her innocent daughter out of jail, responded to the Harris County district attorney's defense of her office's decision to put Jenny in jail.

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

"She graduated school in three years," the victim's mother said.

When Jenny's mom looks at photos of her daughter, she said, "I'm proud and sad at the same time."

She watched as Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson defended her office's decision to put Jenny in jail after she had a mental breakdown on the witness stand. Prosecutors worried Jenny would not show up to testify against her alleged rapist. Jenny's mom said she pleaded for the DA's help to get her daughter out.

KPRC reporter Jace Larson: "Did you ever get a call or email form a supervisor in the DA's office or Devon Anderson herself?"

Jenny's Mom: "No. Devon Anderson never returned my phone calls."

During her two and a half minute video statement, Anderson never mentioned Jenny's treatment in the jail over the course of 27 days. But Jenny's mom has read plenty of comments from people who did share their support.

"I know that I have read each one of them, and I appreciate the city of Houston, because I know their support is behind us," she said.

Jenny’s attorney, Sean Buckley, who is suing the Hendricks’ case prosecutor, a jail guard, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and Harris County, called Anderson’s statement a lie and that she misled viewers.

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

"People who have traumatic events need treatment," Dr. George Santos, medical director of Houston Behaviorist Healthcare Hospital, said.

Jenny spent 10 days in a hospital before going to jail, but Santos said jail could have significantly affected her progress.

"It sort of adds to the trauma of the original trauma and adds to the distinction to her life that resulted from the incident," he said.

"I think this could have been handled differently with a much better outcome," former city council member and Houston police officer Ed Gonzales said.

He is challenging Hickman for Harris County sheriff and blames Hickman's office for not advocating more for Jenny when she was locked up.

"As sheriff, I would have shown leadership by sending my lead team to go see if we could advocate for her. Meet with the DA. Meet with the judge. Maybe we could put an ankle monitor on this sexual assault survivor. There would have been other options, not simply put her with the general population," Gonzales said.

Jenny's mom said until her daughter called her from jail, she thought prosecutors were helping Jenny get treatment at a mental health facility.

"No family should have to go through what we are going through," she said.

Kim Ogg, who is running against Anderson for DA, also called for an independent investigation.

The county attorney's office usually would do such an investigation, but they also represent the sheriff, who is being sued. So if an independent investigation is going to take place, an outside agency would likely be called in.

2016 Click2Houston.com/KPRC 2