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January 2, 2014 permalink
Sex-offender Edward Clinton Lee and his partner became the foster parents of a teenaged girl in Texas. The partner was the legal grandmother of the girl, but not a biological relative. When the girl became pregnant by her teen boyfriend, the foster parents pressured her to get an abortion. An anti-abortion group intervened on her behalf through a legal action. In a private meeting she told judge Terry Flenniken that Lee made sexual advances toward her, but the judge made her stay with the same foster family. There she was compelled to get the abortion. Later Lee killed the grandmother and raped the teen girl.
Court tosses lawsuit against retired district judge
A Burleson County court dismissed a lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion group against a retired district judge Monday.
In October, the Texas Center for Defense of Life sued state District Judge Terry Flenniken, claiming he knowingly placed a teenage girl with her grandmother, who was her legal guardian but not her biological relative, even though she was living with Edward Clinton Lee, a convicted sex offender later sentenced to life in prison for murdering the grandmother and sexually assaulting the teen.
In an earlier lawsuit, the anti-abortion group claimed that the grandmother and Lee had pressured the girl into getting an abortion.
Citing the principles of judicial immunity, presiding Judge Carson T. Campbell on Monday dismissed the case, saying "there is no good-faith basis" for the claims against Flenniken, who retired in December 2012.
Judicial immunity protects judges from lawsuits based on their actions on the bench.
"It is unfortunate that as judges we often find ourselves the target of false and scurrilous attacks, but that is just part of the job serving as a judge," Flenniken said in a statement. "In spite of this unpleasantness, I look forward to continued service as a senior district judge,"
Flenniken's lawyer, Mike McKetta, praised the decision, calling Flenniken "as fine a judge as there is."
"If we had allowed people to sue judges when they're unhappy with a decision, then half of our lawsuits would be against judges," McKetta said.
Stephen Casey, chief counsel for the Texas Center for Defense of Life, called the decision a "tragedy," noting that the judge's decision wasn't in question. It was his inaction when the teen allegedly told him about abuse at home during a private meeting in February 2012, Casey said.
"The courts failed to make a distinction between a judge's decision on the bench and an outcry, a plea for help from a teenage girl being abused, to a licensed attorney," Casey said.
Flenniken was the presiding judge in the 21st District Court, which includes Burleson and Washington counties, that February when the 15-year-old girl, pregnant by her teenage boyfriend, claimed Lee and her grandmother were pressuring her into getting an abortion.
The teen had the abortion in Austin after Flenniken ordered her to continue living with her grandmother, Casey said.
During that case, Flenniken had a private meeting with the teen during which the girl reportedly told the judge of Lee's sexual advances, Casey said.
According to McKetta, the girl did not tell Flenniken of about any threats posed by Lee during their meeting, nor did the judge see evidence of immediate danger to the child presented in court.
In June 2012, Lee shot and killed the grandmother and sexually assaulted the teen.
While the lawsuit against Flenniken has been dismissed, legal action is still pending against the girl's former English teacher and two school administrators, who, the lawsuit alleges, did not report suspected abuse of the girl to authorities.
Source: The Eagle, Bryan Texas