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.

Juvenile probation director Bailey is defensive about accusations of a whitewash. He refers to the call from the stepfather (it was actually the father who phoned the agency) about the gun incident and says the man "never called the police, there never was an offense report." He says it "got literally to the point of where we couldn't even get the stepfather back on the phone."

Deen's mere denial of a sexual relationship was apparently enough to satisfy the agency. "Her immediate supervisor asked her about the rumors and she categorically denied anything was going on," Bailey says. "A lady who is an administrator in our personnel section actually went line by line and interviewed her about those allegations, and she simply said they were not true, that they were vicious rumors."

Finally, after Terry's arrest on the assault charge in April, the agency took some notice when he referred to Deen as his girlfriend.

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."

"Whoa, that's just, like, way too much smoke for there not to be some fire," Bailey recalls. "But up to that point, with the police never filing charges, we referred this matter to the [state juvenile] probation commission, we referred this matter to CPS; everybody came back saying there's enough smoke that she needs to leave the profession. But there's not enough here for there to be any charges filed or anything like that."

Assistant District Attorney Wallace "Skeeter" Warner, the chief prosecutor in Craft's court, says the possibility of sexual misconduct by Deen was looked at, but no action was taken.

"We don't have anything other than, as they say in my Marine Corps background, third shedder scoop," says the prosecutor. "Just rumors that there may be an issue. I do know that she was investigated by our public integrity unit and charges were not filed."

Authorities insist that the biggest problem was their inability to locate Terry.

"My staff has talked to the mother and my staff has verified that we don't know where the kid is," says Bailey. "And everybody's kind of waiting to see if he shows up, and most often what happens is he will get arrested because he has no place to stay."

Terry's mother has appeared for each of her son's case settings in Judge Craft's court since last April. She says investigators kept asking her where Terry could be found. "I say, 'Why don't you try checking back at the address where you arrested him?' "

If no one else listened to her, the Houston Press took her up on the suggestion last month and drove out to the Deen condo on Burdine. Parked in the rear of the gated unit was the red motorcycle she had bought Terry, as well as a vehicle registered to an address in her hometown of Anahuac.

A neighbor of several months who asked not to be identified knew both Deen and Terry by sight and said they had been living at the residence as long as he had been there. He had seen them walking a dog together earlier that week.

Perhaps it was merely an oversight by authorities. But when it comes to some other aspects of this politically sensitive case, juvenile probation officials and even the district attorney's office have displayed rapid-response investigatory skills.

The Sunday-afternoon barbecue at Linda Crocker's home was crowded with current and former juvenile probation officers who had known Crocker during her 25-year career with the agency.

She was hosting a mid-October fund-raiser for former agency director Teresa Ramirez, a candidate for the juvenile court bench held by incumbent Pat Shelton. Once guests settled in, conversations quickly turned to an agency hot topic: the continuing torrent of rumors over the handling of Dee Anne Deen's resignation and her relationship with Terry Williams.

Ramirez says the workers questioned why Deen was allowed to merely resign over such conduct, while another worker had been fired simply because a juvenile in her charge had received a letter from her that was deemed unprofessional. "And of course they questioned how [Terry] didn't show up in court, and things have been done differently with this case, mainly because they think Dee Anne's a friend of the director."

The day after the cookout, a full investigation was launched -- into the Crocker cookout, rather than the Deen-Williams scandal. When probation officers reported for work the next morning, several who had attended the event got their summons to report to the district attorney's office for questioning.

According to Ramirez, the interrogations supposedly were designed to determine whether any official agency information or documents had been distributed at the event. Investigators wanted lists of people who had attended the fund-raiser, as well as what they had talked about. Ramirez says only black and Hispanic workers were interrogated.

"All of them said this is unethical, all this information-asking, none of us would do that at all, but we do have a right to discuss things among ourselves," the former director says.

Crocker later had a heated discussion with prosecutor David Lott concerning the grilling.

"I told him that I didn't appreciate him bringing up my name and did he have something that he needed to ask me. I didn't understand why he was calling people in when they were at a private party on their own time. It appeared to be politically motivated."

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