Harris County sheriff's chief of staff charged with injury to a child

Rosie Nguyen Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Harris County sheriff's chief of staff charged with injury to a child
Court records confirmed that Harris County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Jason Spencer was charged with an injury to a child count.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A high-ranking official at the Harris County Sheriff's Office is now facing a charge of "injury to a child" from allegations that he physically assaulted his 14-year-old son eight months ago.

Jason Spencer's attorney said he attended a court hearing Tuesday and then made bond. He currently serves as Sheriff Ed Gonzalez's chief of staff.

HCSO's website states that Spencer is responsible for helping facilitate the successful implementation of key priorities and initiatives that Gonzalez and the command staff identify. He also serves as the agency's primary intergovernmental liaison and oversees media relations.

In charging documents, investigators with Houston police allege that Spencer, 50, slammed his son up against the wall, threw a plastic gun case at the boy's back as he was running down the stairs, and then held him down to the ground by the arms while at his Heights-area home on Sept. 15, 2023.

The teenager's mother told investigators that she picked up her son and took him to Texas Children's Hospital after Spencer had initially texted her that their son was having a meltdown. She also said their younger son witnessed the incident and called her while she was on her way, telling her to "come quickly."

Investigators said the boy's medical records show he had abrasions to his arms, back, and face, as well as bruises and a small hematoma to the skull. In addition, a doctor wrote in the record that the son's living situation with his father exposed the teen to the "risk of permanent physical damage or death" and indicated that his injuries were consistent with abuse and/or neglect.

ABC13 heard from Gonzalez, who couldn't speak on the case but threw his support behind his chief of staff with a statement:

"While I am not aware of all the facts in this case, I've known and worked with Jason for years and based on what we know at this time, I have every confidence that the charges will not be sustained. I have faith in the investigative and judicial processes and will continue to monitor the situation."

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News knocked on the door of Spencer's home but received no answer. In a text, he referred ABC13 to his attorney, Murray Newman, who issued a statement on behalf of his client in light of the allegations:

"It is an unfortunate occurrence that in some family court cases, a party will try to use the criminal justice system to gain an advantage in a non-criminal case and that is what we believe has happened here. Jason has cooperated with the investigating authorities completely in this matter and he turned himself into the court (Tuesday) morning to address these charges. We believe that once these allegations are more closely examined the facts will show that he simply did not break the law. He loves his children and will not be commenting any further about the facts of this case."

A spokesperson for Spencer's ex-wife and mother of his children sent ABC13 the following after reading the attorney's statement:

"Victim blaming is a cowardly move when the Harris County District Attorney already has spoken with charges. We feel confident the district attorney's case will shine truth and bring justice. There will be no further comment from this family out of protection of the children."

Spencer started at the sheriff's office in 2017 as director of public affairs and had previous stints in the Houston and Aldine independent school districts. While he helps lead inside an agency serving the state's most populous county, the sheriff's office doesn't say Spencer is a sworn law enforcement officer.

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