HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A 16-year-old accused of raping his therapist at a west Harris County juvenile facility in July 2021 will be certified as an adult. At this time, we cannot report his name until that certification becomes official.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office said this will make a difference in how long that young man can be punished if convicted.
In addition to being charged with aggravated sexual assault, he'll also be tried as an adult on a charge of assaulting a peace officer at the same facility.
"The greater of those two charges, the aggravated sexual assault, is a first-degree felony," Allen Otto, a chief prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said. "The punishment range for that type of offense is anywhere from five years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, up to a life sentence."
The alleged aggravated sexual assault took place in July 2021 at the Harris County Leadership Academy in the Katy area.
The therapist testified during June's certification hearing that she was locked in her office by the suspect before being knocked to the ground and sexually assaulted.
"It doesn't bring any closure," James Haak, the victim's husband, said on the decision to certify the suspect as an adult. "It's the first step in the process."
As for that therapist, she has been unable to return to work due to emotional trauma, and she isn't the only one impacted by the alleged incident.
Lyndsey Martin is a former therapist at the Harris County Leadership Academy who left in the fall of 2021.
"I loved my job," Martin said. "I cried even quitting, but I knew I had to stick with my values, my morals, my ethics."
Martin said she had warned the administration about the suspect prior to the incident, and said the staff was never briefed on what had happened following its occurrence.
ABC13 reached out to the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department to find out what measures they've taken as a result.
"Our response was prompt and direct. We met with our therapists, asked what they needed to feel safe, and updated our safety procedures immediately based on their feedback. Increased safety measures implemented by the department included windows added to all therapy room doors, self-locking mechanisms removed from all therapy room doors, and security cameras installed inside all therapy rooms," a spokesperson said in a statement to Eyewitness News.