A new investigator will come on board in the District Attorney’s office in March to assist with an increasing case load.
The Commissioners Court gave its approval to the request made by District Attorney Rob Christian during its regular meeting Tuesday.
Christian gave a brief presentation, during which he stated that the case load is getting to be too much for investigator Robert Young to handle on his own. Young investigates the more serious cases of physical and sexual abuse of children.
The job was to be posted immediately. The cost to the county for the remaining half of the 2013-2014 fiscal year will be $25,000 “plus benefits,” according to Christian. He said that he will use his office’s forfeiture account to provide the new investigator with a vehicle, camera and recording equipment so that those expenses “will not be a burden to the county.”
According to Christian, interviews with child victims at the Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center in Granbury numbered 138 in 2011, 148 in 2012 and 246 in 2013.
“The numbers over the last three years have gone up quite a bit,” he said.
His investigator is present at those interviews.
The CAC provides a team approach to investigations and victim services for children who have been abused and their non-offending family members. Forensic interviews are conducted with children in a child-friendly environment, with investigators, prosecutors, Children’s Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers and healthcare providers observing via closed circuit television.
Christian told commissioners that his office works closely with investigators in the Sheriff’s Office. From January through November 2013, he said, investigations conducted in Hood County involved 1,685 children. Two child deaths were examined, he said.
Christian has praised Young for his work “in the trenches” over the past seven years, thoroughly investigating every case despite a heavy case load. He said that the number of indictments went up 300 percent after he hired Young.
“I challenge anybody to show me any place where a better job is being done,” the DA told commissioners.
The DA noted that not all investigations result in charges because it is determined that no intentional wrongdoing occurred.
“Many times, a thorough investigation is just as important, whether someone is being sent to prison for life, or no charges are filed at all,” the DA told commissioners.
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