Embattled director of violent sex offender agency resigns

A group of men walk outside a home to where sex offenders had been moved on W. Montgomery Road in the Acres Homes neighborhood in Houston. The high-risk offenders had been transferred to the unlicensed boarding house from a halfway house to free beds needed for low-risk offenders. Neighbors learned of the men's presence when they received notifications from the state sex-offender registry. On Friday, April 4, 2014, officials said the group serving civil commitment sentences are being moved back to a halfway house. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)

AUSTIN (AP) — The director of a state agency in charge of supervising high-risk sex offenders has resigned amid broad criticism over the relocation of offenders to residential areas.

Allison Taylor, who stepped down Thursday as head of the Texas Office of Violent Sex Offender Management, is joining the Texas Health and Human Services Commission as a Medicaid investigator. She will receive a yearly salary of $70,000, a $14,000 pay cut from her current salary, The Houston Chronicle reported.

The governing board of the agency was supposed to discuss an agenda item on this Saturday’s meeting about her possible termination.

Taylor oversaw residential programs for more than 300 sex offenders who completed their sentences but were deemed too dangerous to be released. Over the program’s 15 years of existence, not one sex offender has completed the treatment aimed rehabilitating offenders with a “behavioral abnormality.” About half of the program’s sex offenders live in halfway houses, county jails or other semi-secure facilities. The rest have been sent back to prison for parole violations.

Taylor was criticized by lawmakers and others for relocating about three dozen offenders to neighborhoods in Austin and Houston without notifying residents. She later moved about two dozen offenders to a minimum security halfway house.

Drawing further scrutiny was a plan to build a detention facility to house between 50 and 100 offenders in Liberty County, in Southeast Texas, without any advance notice to local officials. The State Comptroller’s Office ruled the contract was void because the bidder was not an incorporated company in Texas at the time it submitted its proposal.

The agency is also under investigation by the state auditor’s office, Texas’ Attorney General and the Travis County Public Integrity Unit for alleged irregularities in operations and contracting in Taylor’s agency. The investigation continues despite her resignation.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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