Wichita Co. Probation Dept. Director fired following ongoing alleged misconduct, criminal activity investigation

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL)—

The Director of the Wichita County Probation Department has been terminated by the Board of Judges as an ongoing investigation continues.

The District Attorney is also speaking out about the three people facing charges after an investigation and one other suspended.

John Gillespie made it clear this is a very serious issue because these people are in a position of trust and have a huge impact on other people’s lives.

On June 10, when Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director Margaret Rogers and Assistant Director Beth Romm were suspended with pay after the Board of Judges received credible reports of a possible civil rights violation or criminal activity.

According to a courthouse source, Rogers was fired Friday by the Board of Judges.

The investigation into Romm is still ongoing.

On June 14, supervisor Valerie Thomerson was suspended with pay as well.

Thomerson was charged with perjury following testimony she gave back in may regarding her role as an officer.

An affidavit states Thomerson later admitted to giving false statements.

Former community supervision officer, David Jetton, 68, was charged with official oppression after being accused of engaging in inappropriate conversations with a woman and booked into jail on June 18, 2019.

He was out on bond later that day.

RELATED: Another former Wichita Co. employee charged in ongoing investigation in alleged misconduct, criminal activity

Former Wichita County probation officer Nicole McKnight, 38, was jailed after being booked on a charge of official oppression and tampering with evidence making her the third former probation officer or supervisor to be charged last week.

McKnight was out on bond this week.

Gillespie said he set in on a revocation hearing for Brenda Velasquez on May 17 and was shocked after hearing her testimony about her probation officer Nicole McKnight.

Evidence and testimony alleged that the probation officer assigned to her case, which is McKnight, had adopted Velasquez’s baby, in fact she allegedly paid Velasquez money during her pregnancy and made threats that her probation could be revoked.

This alleged misconduct by McKnight forced Gillespie to file to dismiss the motion to revoke because McKnight’s conflict barred her testimony.

RELATED: Wichita Co. Probation office suspends employees amid investigation

“Heard the probationer on the stand telling what had happened to her and it was deeply troubling and concerning,” Gillespie said. “I wound up talking to the prosecutors and I wound up dismissing the motion to revoke because it was based on technicals and her testimony was very credible.”

Gillispie said trust of probation officers is essential because the courts make decisions base on their reports.

“Based upon violation reports from the probation department,” Gillespie said. “Whether that information will be sent over or not be sent over whatever the case may be that probation department or probation department has a tremendous amount of power.”

Gillespie said after sitting in on the hearing briefly, he made a referral to launch a full criminal investigation.

Gillespie also said the Texas Rangers are leading the investigation and his office will aggressively prosecute everything that comes out of the investigation.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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