By Christie Post - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The defendant in a sex abuse trial took the stand Thursday and said all the allegations by five juveniles were false.
The former West Texas State School principal in Pyote, John Paul Hernandez, pleaded not guilty to molesting boys in his care from 2004 to 2005. Hernandez faces 11 counts, two counts of sexual assault and nine counts of improper relationship between an educator and a student.
Hernandez said he was popular with the students, but staff did not like him. He said he got the job to turn the juvenile prison school around. And that he never had sexual relations with the five men who said they were abused by him, when they were younger.
Hernandez said his job was to monitor instruction and oversee janitorial duties where students would clean up campus. He said he was also trying to get their GED's. And sometimes he gave them one on one counseling behind closed doors to let students cry if they needed to. Hernandez said he also would let students watch comedy shows when he was instructing class.
Prosecutors called more than a dozen witnesses, including the five young men. The victims said Hernandez would give them candy and special treatment before abusing them in closets and classrooms.
Wednesday a former corrections officer took the stand testifying that she overheard two inmates plotting to lie about being sexually abused so they could go home.
Another prison official Ray Brookins was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison on similar charges. Hernandez said he was not friends with Brookins.
His testimony will continue Friday. And the trial is expected to wrap up next week. We will continue to follow the trial until it's over.
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