The Odd Couple

When a veteran juvenile probation supervisor took a teenage former detainee as her live-in companion, you'd have thought authorities would be interested. They weren't.

Deen drove herself to a private doctor for treatment. After the juvenile admitted trying to get Deen's revolver, the officers drove him to the Mykawa Road substation and filed charges of terroristic threat and assault against him.

According to Cannon, the officers did not explore the issue of any sexual relationship between her and the boy because Deen didn't bring it up. He says officers called juvenile probation workers and said, "Look, one of your employees filed this complaint and we've got the 16-year-old down here with us. Do you want to check him in your system? Because he comes up clear on our end."

Cannon claims the juvenile probation department authorized his release. Agency director Elmer Bailey denies that and blames HPD for letting him go.

Former Burnett-Bayland head Linda Crocker promoted Deen but soon saw troubling signs.
Troy Fields
Former Burnett-Bayland head Linda Crocker promoted Deen but soon saw troubling signs.
In resigning as an agency supervisor, Deen declared herself "a rebel with a cause."
Deron Neblett
In resigning as an agency supervisor, Deen declared herself "a rebel with a cause."

Terry's mother picked him up at the jail after midnight. Her son then called Deen from a pay phone and told his mother to take him back to Burdine -- to the same town house where he'd been arrested only hours earlier.

The youth says he wanted to sort out what had happened, and that he was afraid of going back to jail. The supposedly terrorized probation supervisor had other ideas, he says.

"When I went back over there," Terry recalls, "she said, 'Just go get in the bed. I don't want to talk.' "

However, the incident forced the agency into a showdown with the supervisory employee. Deen was forced to resign last May.

"Working for probation has taught me many things, some good and some bad," Deen wrote in a two-paragraph letter to agency official Julia Ramirez. "But I will still remain a champion for those that are in need and I hope that I will always possess the fire to be 'a rebel with a cause.' "

The resignation ended her relationship with juvenile probation -- but not with Terry Williams.

The same odd coupling that had been recognized regularly by treatment center operator Ephraim McDuffie and juvenile probation workers drew attention again last summer, more than 1,000 miles from Houston.

Police in tiny Blanding, Utah, pulled over a car driven by a youth from Texas. It was Terry Williams, and he had no driver's license. Officers took him in, and soon the young man was on the telephone with an older woman he described as his godmother -- Dee Anne Deen.

After her resignation from juvenile probation, Deen was looking for work. She had recently announced to Terry, whose uncle was a truck driver, that she was interested in learning to drive rigs cross-country. So she told him to pack up, that they would drive to Salt Lake City, where she had enrolled in the CR England truck driving school.

When Deen arrived at the Blanding police station to retrieve the teen, officers called the boy's mother before releasing him. Blanding Sergeant Danny Flannery laughs at the question of whether officers there found anything odd about the situation.

"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah," he says. "But once we talked to Mom and she acted like everything was hunky-dory, we couldn't go on our assumptions and we turned him over to who she told us to."

Terry's mother says she had been concerned because her son had simply disappeared from Houston. She insists she gave permission for Deen to take the boy only because she had no way to go to Utah and pick him up herself.

Deen and her companion returned from Utah, with the woman apparently discarding her ideas of truck driving. They settled back into the town house on Burdine Street, with Terry continuing to come and go at will.

As recently as late October, Deen was still buying Terry expensive presents, including a computer with which to surf the Internet at their home. Despite all that had gone before, Deen seemed determined to continue the relationship that had destroyed her career.

In addition to the allegations of sexual relations with a minor, she'd driven the juvenile across state lines to Utah while Terry was in effect a fugitive on the assault and terroristic threat charges.

And yet there was never any real investigation by juvenile probation or any of the agencies responsible for enforcing any of the applicable laws.

By all indications, the juvenile probation department believed the situation would go away when it sent Deen away.

In a referral to Harris County Children's Protective Services last May, juvenile probation deputy director Harvey Hetzel stated that Deen separated from the department after officials learned she had improperly allowed the boy to live with her.

"What is clear is that Ms. Deen took an intense, personal interest in this child," wrote Hetzel. He noted that Deen had explained she was unable to find an alternate placement for him and the child's mother knew about it and agreed.

"Although we have no knowledge or suspect any sexual contact with this youth, it remains a possibility, and one we have not investigated further." The letter made it clear the request was pro forma, designed to protect the agency's reputation.

"We are making a referral based upon a possibility rather than suspicion. Further, a review independent of our agency would negate any future assertions of favorable treatment, cover-up, etc." There is no sign of any further action by juvenile probation or Children's Protective Services in Deen's personnel file.

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