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Governor Abbott Names Chair And Appoints 13 To Task Force On Improving Outcomes For Juveniles Adjudicated Of Sexual Offenses

SPECIAL TO THE LEADER —————Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Devon Anderson, Chris Bratton, James Castro, Robert Ellis, Billy Fletcher, Lisa Jarrett, Kameron Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Moore, Allison Palmer, Dean Rucker, Frank Salazar, and Donna Vandiver to the Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses. The governor additionally designated Devon Anderson as presiding officer. The Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses was created under HB 1144 during the 84th legislative session and issues policy recommendations to improve the outcomes for juvenile sex offenders after studying adjudication and disposition processes and programs, counseling and mental health services and the sex offender registration process for juveniles.

Devon Anderson of Bellaire is the Harris County District Attorney.  She previously served as an assistant district attorney and as judge of the 177th District Court in Harris County.  She is also a graduate of the Career Prosecutors Course at the National College of District Attorneys and later served as an instructor there.  Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas at Austin.

Chris Bratton of Round Rock is the Chief of Police for the City of Elgin.  He is a member of the Texas Police Chiefs Association, International Police Chiefs Association, and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association.  He also serves on the boards of the 100 Club of Central Texas and the Center for Child Protection.  Bratton is a graduate of Excelsior College, Capella University, and the Leadership Command College.

James Castro of Bergheim is CEO of St. Peter – St. Joseph Children’s Home in San Antonio.  He is a member of the Texas Alliance of Child Family Services, San Antonio Nonprofit Council, South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, and Boys Scouts of America.  He is also co-chair of the Bexar county Blue Ribbon Task Force. Castro received a Bachelor of Science from Franciscan University and a Master of Arts from St. Mary’s University.

Robert Ellis of Lockhart is Founder and CEO of Pegasus Schools, Inc., a 200 resident juvenile sex offender program celebrating 25 years of operation.  He is a member at large of the Department of Family and Protective Servicers Private/Public Partnership Committee.  Ellis attended The University of Texas at Austin.

Billy Fletcher of Austin is a lieutenant and command supervisor over the Criminal Investigations Division for the Leander Police Department.  He is a member of the Texas Municipal Police Association, Texas Victim Services Association and Centex American Society for Public Administration. He also serves as assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts of America.  Fletcher received a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Science from Texas State University.

Lisa Jarrett of San Antonio is judge of the 436th District Court in Bexar County.  She is a member of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, San Antonio/Bexar County Committee on Truancy, and San Antonio Bar Association.  Additionally, she is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and vice chair of Healthy Futures of Texas, and she participates in the Friends of Communities in Schools program.  Jarrett received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center.

Kameron Johnson of Round Rock is the Juvenile Public Defender in Travis County.  He serves as treasurer for the Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, member of the National Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and board member for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.  Johnson received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas Law School.

Jennifer F. Lopez of Rosebud is the chief juvenile probation officer for the 20th-82nd Judicial District of Falls, Milam and Robertson Counties.  She is a board member of the Central Texas Council of Governments and the Rosebud- Lott Rodeo Association and a member of the Texas Probation Association. She also serves as a volunteer for the Susan G Komen Central Texas Affiliate. Lopez received a Bachelor of Science from Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) University.

Michelle Moore of Marble Falls is chief public defender for Burnet County. She is an associate board member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association and a member of the State Bar of Texas Services for the Poor Committee. She is also a volunteer attorney for the House of Renewed Hope and the Texas Exoneree Project. Moore received a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas.

Allison Palmer of San Angelo is the District Attorney for the 51st Judicial District of Coke, Irion, Schleicher, Sterling and Tom Green Counties. She is a member of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, National District Attorneys Association, and the Tom Green County Bar Association. Palmer received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s School of Law.

Dean Rucker of Midland is the Presiding Judge of the Seventh Administrative Judicial Region of Texas and a senior judge of the 318th Family District Court. He is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he is a member of the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section, Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, State Bar Pattern Jury Charge-Family/Probate Committee, and the Midland County Bar Association. Additionally, he is a former charter commissioner on the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families and now serves as one its Jurists in Residence. Rucker received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Trinity University and a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s School of Law.

Frank Salazar of San Antonio is a supervisor in the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department with over 27 years of service. He has been instrumental in the creation of a specialized unit to better address juveniles referred on sexually oriented offenses. Consequently, comprehensive risk assessments were implemented in order to improve treatment outcomes. He has presented at the National Adolescent Perpetration Network and the Correctional Management Institute of Texas on topics related to the supervision and monitoring of juveniles with sexual behavior problems. Salazar received a Bachelor of Arts from Sam Houston State University.

Donna M. Vandiver of New Braunfels is an associate professor of the School of Criminal Justice, interim chairperson of Department of Agriculture, and assistant dean at Texas State University. She is also currently a co-investigator of a federal grant that is assessing the effects of sex offender registration laws. Her research focuses on sex offenders, with an emphasis on juvenile and female sex offenders. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on the topic and co-authored a book, “Juvenile Sex Offenders: What the Public Needs to Know.” Vandiver received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University.