Lawmakers hear testimony on controversial Texas children's shelter

The founder of a Texas shelter in Bastrop County near Austin said deeper background checks could help fight child sex trafficking.

The nonprofit The Refuge is at the center of a scandal – allegations that a now former employee took nude photos of two girls and sold them.

In exchange, that worker is alleged to have supplied drugs to the girls.

RELATED: Authorities investigating The Refuge for DMST for child sex trafficking

That employee was fired but has not been charged.

The shelter’s founder told state lawmakers at a House Human Services Committee hearing in Austin a background check revealed no issues with that person.

"Despite doing background checks, fingerprint checks, drug checks, a predator still got in. For us, we have done all we can in the six weeks since this happened to contract with two other entities to help us find better ways to screen, to look for predatory behavior," said Brooke Crowder, the founder of Refuge Ranch.

The head of the Department of Public Safety said the case is still under investigation.

The shelter’s license is suspended, and all children have been removed.


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