Former youth worker charged with sex assault

May 10, 2011 4:02:07 PM PDT
A former employee at a children's treatment center meant to help abused children is now accused of the ultimate betrayal, the sexual assault of a child. It's a child, officials say, he met while working at the center. It's an arrest that has prompted Child Protective Services to stop sending children to the facility. The suspect worked at the Krause Children's Residential Treatment Center in Katy, where he's accused of developing the inappropriate relationship.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services suspended placement of foster children to the facility about a month ago. That was about the same time an investigation of a former employee of the Krause Center was being developed. Now a CPS spokesperson says the two events are related.

Robert Paul Gentry, 28, is accused of sexual assault of a child. Houston police claim the victim is a 15-year-old girl. The alleged incident dates back to December.

Gentry had been employed at the Krause Center in Katy, a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. Prosecutors say the girl was client there.

"She was staying there and she made some allegations and outcried that a sexual assault had taken place," said prosecutor Samantha Knecht. "That was turned over to authorities who investigated it."

According to court documents, the alleged assault happened miles from the center, at an apartment in southeast Houston on December 1, 2010. Apartment managers say Gentry was not the tenant.

A spokesperson for the Krause Center says Gentry is a former employee, but the home operated by Lutheran Social Services, was unaware of his arrest. Gentry had no criminal history.

The Krause Center is routinely inspected by Texas Child Care Licensing. In recent months, on the state agency's website, there were corrected violations noted, but nothing to hint at what police claim happened.

Advocate Randy Burton, with Justice For Children, said, "It's a large group home that provides 24 hour care. It's extraordinary to me that something like this could happen."

A spokesperson for Lutheran Social Services of Texas says that the alleged victim was not a resident of the Krause Center at the time of the alleged assault. He had no comment on the state's decision to temporarily stop the placement of children at the center.

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