The most recent update in The Refuge Ranch foster care system scandal does not look good for Governor Greg Abbott, who in the past weeks has been criticized for allegedly “not knowing” of the sex trafficking accusations until it became a public statement.
According to The Texas Tribune, Court-appointed monitors found “ample evidence” that former sex trafficking victims were abused at the foster care facility in Bastrop, contrary to what the Texas Rangers reported earlier in the month.
When the story first broke, Abbott ordered the Texas Rangers to investigate the situation. After a week of “investigating,” Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, sent Abbott a letter stating there were no evidence kids at the shelter were sexually abused or trafficked.
This, of course, raised red flags.
Paul Yetter, the attorney representing foster care children in the federal lawsuit, disputed this assertion was premature, calling it “surprising and extremely troubling” since the investigation is still ongoing.
The monitor’s report was filed as part of a years-long lawsuit over foster care in Texas. It stated there is evidence to substantiate allegations of child sex abuse, exploitation, neglectful supervision, and physical abuse at The Refuge Ranch in Bastrop, according to the court filing.
“The monitoring team’s review revealed evidence that numerous children were denied a safe placement while at The Refuge,” the monitors wrote. “There is ample evidence of violations of high and medium-high standards related to child safety, and of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The evidence of serious risks to child safety at The Refuge includes, but is not limited to, a strong possibility of human trafficking based on staff’s inducement of children to sell nude photographs in exchange for drugs.”
Yet again, Abbott’s attempts to “aid” the foster care system seemed to conveniently only help his own image. Is Abbott really this ignorant about his own foster care system or is he purposefully turning a blind eye? How much did he really know? And more importantly, for how long?
As former congressman Beto O’Rourke once said: “Abbott did not do shit to help those kids out.”