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Former Mart juvenile worker arrested in indecency case involving escaped youth

Former Mart juvenile worker arrested in indecency case involving escaped youth

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State authorities Monday arrested a former McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility worker on an  indecency with a child charge involving a teenager who had run away from a state-run halfway house.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General arrested Deena Riley, 44, in Ellis County, after a monthslong investigation.

Deena Riley

Riley

Riley is accused of helping three youths run away from a TJJD halfway house on April 12. On April 28 she was arrested and booked into the Ellis County Jail on charges of hindering apprehension.

She is accused of having sexual contact in April with one of the runaway youths, a 16-year-old boy.

The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of two to 20 years. Riley was booked into the Ellis County Jail again Monday and released on a bond of $21,000.

Riley began working for the TJJD in 2020 and resigned in January from her position as a youth development coach at the state correctional facility in Mart. 

Because she was not an employee of the agency at the time of the incident, she will be prosecuted by the Ellis County District Attorney's Office.

The juvenile justice system has been plagued with sexual abuse cases for years, including a 2019 case at the Mart center in which an officer was arrested on charges that he forced a 14-year-old to perform oral sex on him.

On July 12, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a Texas Rangers investigation into allegations of illegal behavior among TJJD staff across the state.

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