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 says he called in the D.A. because a staff member present at the fund-raiser had claimed confidential reports had been given to Crocker. After the questioning, the D.A. declined to pursue the matter.

Bailey denied that the investigation was designed to intimidate workers from supporting his predecessor in her judicial race.

"Our position was that to know that and having got that information and not having relayed it to the D.A. would in fact be a crime itself, so we took the safe route," says Bailey. "I never got involved and I didn't call the staff in and do any haranguing of them; we just let the chips fall where they may. Once the D.A. said he was through with it, fine, we were through with it, too. And the staff certainly couldn't feel retaliated against."

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."

Bailey attributes the interest in Deen's case to a vendetta involving his predecessor.

"There's a group of people that are still loyal to the chief that was run off, Teresa Ramirez, when I got this job seven years ago," he says. "Quite honestly, a number of times I thought I had gotten over all that, and everybody was going to be buddies, but apparently that's not necessarily the case, especially when Teresa is running for election against Pat Shelton. So this has emerged."

Hard feelings apparently aren't limited to the agency. Terry, after his mother relayed a Houston Press message to him, called recently to say he is once more on his own. With the charges against him, he refused to reveal his location, only that it was no longer Dee Anne Deen's town house.

Three days earlier, he says, Deen told him he would have to leave because she was selling the residence and moving back to Anahuac to live with her mother. Moving with her is not an option, explains the boy, because Deen's family is conservative and doesn't understand the nature of their relationship.

On previous visits, he says, he pretended that he was a kid rather than Deen's lover.

"They kind of expect that from a dude my age," he says. "That's when I started distancing myself from them. She feels like her family didn't like that, and ever since then I can sense that feeling."

Terry says that on his last visit, he noticed a Confederate flag in her relative's home and that Deen did not seem disturbed by the racial implications -- he's African-American and she's white. "I really didn't too much like it," recalls the boy, "so I just didn't too much go back there."

He still seemed shocked that he had been abandoned. "All of a sudden she's saying she's going back to move with her mama, and I gotta go somewhere."

The boy credits Deen with good motives. "She was looking out for my interests, she was helping out, we were trying to complete the program. As far as helping herself, I don't even think she planned on sex. It just happened, 'cause she mentioned it had been a long time since she even thought about it. I thought it was a dream."

Terry's mother got a call from Deen at about the same time, saying she could no longer take care of the boy.

"What I wanted to tell her was with all the expensive gifts you gave Terry, you have come out better," the mother says. "You should have been trying to help me and my family, so I could help him."

Deen told her she and Terry were having problems, and his mother says she exploded, saying, "Ms. Deen, you say he has a problem. You have the problem. That's a child and you're a probation officer. You don't keep letting a child handle you like that."

Williams says her main concern is her son, whom she describes as out of control and on the street.

"I had a feeling this was going to get out of hand. My child is out there and confused. I'm worried about it. Could it be that now she's tired of him and out of money?

"If it's like that, then I feel sorry for her. She took a problem and made it a greater problem. Maybe she did have good intentions at first because [Terry] is such a good person. But she had a job to do."

According to Terry's mother, juvenile probation staffers gave an indication of why there's no eagerness to track him down. She says they're willing to let the case be continued indefinitely until Terry becomes an adult next year, at which time charges would be dismissed.

Terry, the boy the system was supposed to shelter and counsel, sounds angry and cynical. "I just kind of feel like I wasted a lot of time," he says. "She said she loved me, and I thought she did."

Before hanging up the phone, Terry was asked about his future. "I was running from the police last night," he says, refusing to explain further.

"Right now I just don't want to think about that."

That's a sentiment that seems to be shared by Deen's former bosses in juvenile probation.

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