AG Paxton to Investigate Promotion of Puberty Blockers in Children
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and AbbVie Inc. under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. These pharmaceutical companies allegedly advertised and promoted hormone (puberty) blockers for unapproved uses without disclosing the potential risks associated with these drugs to children and their parents.
Medications Supprelin LA and Lupron Depot are approved to treat children with Central Precocious Puberty (CPP), when the puberty process begins prematurely. And Vantas, along with other forms of Lupron, has been prescribed for palliative treatment of prostate cancer. These drugs are now being used to treat gender dysphoria even though they are not approved for such use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Gender dysphoria is a diagnosed mental disorder in which a person experiences significant distress related to a strong desire to be of another biological sex.
“The manufacture, sale, prescription, and use of puberty blockers on young teens and minors is dangerous and reckless,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “These drugs were approved for very different purposes and can have detrimental and even irreversible side effects. I will not allow pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of Texas children.”
The OAG has the authority to investigate false, misleading, and deceptive conduct by businesses in Texas, and to take legal action to enforce the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.
In Travis County, Jose Antonio Garcia-Barriga was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 6 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.
In Travis County, Cesar Ambrosio Sanchez was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.
In Galveston County, Ismael Ruiz Jr. was arrested in Galveston on outstanding warrants for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Sexual Assault and Injury to a Child/Elderly/Disabled issued by the Galveston Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Violent Offender Task Force.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.
In Harris County, Leonard Dee Taylor was arrested in Houston on July 23 for failing to comply with his mandated sex offender registration requirements, and a corresponding warrant for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements issued in 2018 out of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Taylor was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender List in May of 2019. In 2003, Taylor was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Bowie County and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force, and assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In Smith County, Dakevian Benoit Scroggins was arrested in Tyler on July 24 on outstanding warrants for Capitol Murder issued by the Tyler Police Department and Evading Arrest issued by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. Scroggins was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted in July of 2021. In 2014, Scroggins was convicted of Prohibited Weapon in Smith County and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Tyler Police Department and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.
In Wharton County, Francisco Avalos was arrested in Louise on three outstanding warrants for Sexual Assault of a Child, Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography and Online Solicitation of a Minor issued by the Victoria County 377th District Court. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force out of Victoria.
Parents sent to prison in 2015 Fayetteville slaying, sex assault of 3-year-old daughter
Cumberland County, NC – A Fayetteville mother and father were sent to prison Monday for the 2015 sexual abuse and death of their malnourished 3-year-old daughter.
After a week of testimony and just over four hours of deliberation, a Cumberland County jury found Jamarkus Smith, 31, guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.
Jourdin’s mother and Smith’s wife, Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.
Testimony in Smith’s trial began July 19, with closing arguments on Friday.
Following the jury verdict, Smith professed his innocence when he addressed the court before sentencing.
“I showed them I was innocent,” he said. “They know I’m innocent, and you know I’m innocent. Everybody here knows. How is that right? At what point is the legal system about justice?”
No statements were made on behalf of Jourdin before Judge Claire Hill sentenced Smith to life imprisonment for the murder and a combined 25 to 35 years for the other charges. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Smith’s attorney, Kris Poppe, said his client plans to appeal the verdict.
As Smith was escorted from the courtroom Monday, he turned to two women in the gallery who appeared to be there on his behalf and said, “I didn’t do it.”
“I know you didn’t baby,” one of the women said. “He didn’t do that. I don’t care what nobody says. He didn’t do it.”
According to the child’s autopsy report, the cause of death was pneumonia in the setting of malnutrition, neglect and sexual abuse. She weighed just 28 pounds at the time of her death, and her body and genitals were riddled with lacerations and contusions, the report said.
Bennett-Smith’s sentencing came some 30 minutes after her husband’s.
Her defense attorney, Antonio Gerald, called Jourdin’s death a tragedy.
Gerald said that Bennett-Smith accepted responsibility for her role in Jourdin’s death and “agreed to testify and assist in any way to help bring justice for Jourdin.”
Bennett-Smith did not speak during the hearing but cried as she was sentenced to a minimum term 10 years, five months, and a maximum of 13 years, six months for the second-degree murder charge.
The judge declined Gerald’s request for a consolidated sentence and instead stacked the sentence for the other charges.
For the child abuse and sexual assault charges, she received a consecutive minimum sentence of four years, four months, and a maximum of more than 10 years in prison. She will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years after release.
The judge also recommended a psychological evaluation for Bennett-Smith.
Gerald said that the court heard during her testimony at Smith’s trial that she was also a victim of assault as a child.
“These are not excuses for her actions of what she has pled guilty to, but only to shed some light as to what may have led her to be in this courtroom today,” he said.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week:
In Dallas County, Jorge Antonio Cervantes was arrested in Dallas on July 21, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault issued by the Waxahachie Police Department.
In Bexar County, Nicole Kristina Clayton was arrested in San Antonio on July 16, on an outstanding warrant for Sex Offense Against Child Fondling – Felony Indecency with a Child/Sexual Contact issued by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of San Antonio.
In Travis County, Milo Cortez Douglas was arrested in Austin on July 19, on an outstanding warrant for Murder issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.
In Dallas County, Facundo Dario Araya was arrested in Irving on July 20, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.