Gary Gates’ child abuse allegations resurface in HD-28 race

Allegations that HD-28 candidate Gary Gates abused his 13 children — two biological and 11 adopted — have come bubbling up again. Although the alleged abuse happened more than 15 years ago, the accusations have resurfaced in each of Gates’ seven losing campaigns for public office. 

In 2000, CPS caseworkers removed Gates’ children because, at the time, the agency believed the children were in “immediate danger.” The determination was made after Gates allegedly stapled a bag of cookie wrappers to the shirt of a child with an eating disorder to shame him for hoarding food. 

When a CPS caseworker interviewed Gates’ adopted son, the child alleged that Gates punished his children by handcuffing them to beds, making them move bricks “for hours,” drink ipecac to induce vomiting and squat against a wall with 25 or 50-pound weights in their laps. 

Gates allegedly made a 10-year-old boy wear diapers. To punish the child, Gates allegedly made the boy drag a bag of his soiled diapers up and down the stairs.

When CPS agents and sheriff’s deputies came to remove the children, Gates told the children that “these people want to talk to you, they think mom and dad are bad people.” 

One of Gates’ children responded, “Well dad, you are bad. You slammed them up against the wall and made his head bleed.” 

Two other children said they saw Gates injure a child, another said she was afraid to live with Gates and a fourth said that “none of us likes any of this, we just don’t complain.” 

Although CPS caseworkers and law enforcement officers determined the allegations brought against Gates to be credible, he was able to get the children back by outspending the authorities. 

Over the course of 2000, Gates spent more than $150,000, about $225,000 adjusted for inflation, suing CPS. He paid for transcripts, open records requests and newspaper ads. 

He fought the agency for 16 years and his hatred of CPS extended to him paying the legal costs of other alleged child abusers. Gates foot the bill to appeal a ruling that removed a 3-month-old boy with a broken leg and evidence of a fractured skull from his parents. 

When questioned about his involvement in the case Gates defended his actions by saying that CPS workers “often abuse their authority.” 

After an eight-year legal battle, Gates lawsuit against CPS was dismissed. In his suit, Gates claimed that the agency had violated his constitutional rights to when it removed his children. 

The 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that CPS and other agencies had a vested interest in removing the children from Gates’ home. 

The justices also determined that law enforcement agencies must seek a state court ruling as early as possible when investigating a child abuse case. 

Gates also lost a state lawsuit against CPS that accused the agency of violating his rights under the Texas Constitution. The Third District Court of Appeals dismissed Gates’ suit on the grounds that many of the issues he raised were governed by Texas’ sovereign immunity. 

Gates’ long history with CPS comes up every time he runs for office. It cropped up when he lost his bid for Railroad Commissioner in 2016. The child abuse allegations came up all six of his previous, losing campaigns. 

The allegations that Gates emotionally, psychologically and physically abused his biological and adopted children surfaced both times Gates ran for the Texas House, both times he ran for the Texas Senate and both times he ran for his local school board. 

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