The Wharton County District Attorney’s Office has dropped charges against a former Louise ISD teacher accused of inappropriately touching a child in a school bathroom almost three years ago.
With little physical evidence and changing witness stories, the case against 46-year-old Clifford Hooks likely can’t be proven, according to Assistant District Attorney Bryan Honeycutt.
“The bottom line is that these cases are very difficult to try,” he said.
The office was working with the testimony of a child victim and an adult “outcry” witness.
Hooks had been an elementary school teacher and boy’s coach in 2016 and the early part of 2017 when he was dismissed from his post.
Until last month, he faced a charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact. Wharton County sheriff’s deputies allege Hooks engaged in inappropriate contact with one second grader in a Louise Elementary bathroom.
“The witnesses are remembering things differently. It’s not uncommon. Kids have a short attention span and a different way of looking at things,” Honeycutt said.
The outcry adult witness, however, started making false statements to a group known as BACA or Bikers Against Child Abuse.
“It was clear the evidence was limited. The child didn’t seem to remember,” Honeycutt said, adding the DA’s office had to let the defense know the adult witness was “a portrayer of falsehoods.”
Aside from the child’s claims, there was no evidence against Hooks and no past criminal history.
“We remain concerned if this individual is around children,” Honeycutt said.
The Wharton County Grand Jury felt there was enough evidence to proceed to trial, DA Dawn Allison said, but added the pieces of evidence later crumpled.
“When Brian (Honeycutt) took over the case, he had to do what justice showed, not just whatever we think he did,” Allison said.
Louise High School Coach Thomas Clay Hosman, 47, of Eagle Lake pleaded guilty to video taping teen girls in a campus restroom in July.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on two counts of improper relationship with a child and six counts of invasive visual recording.
The images were captured around March 1, 2017 shortly before Hosman was dismissed from his job as a social studies at Louise Junior High School. A four-year veteran teacher, Hosman had coached track, volleyball and cross country running while working for the district.
His victims were girls between the ages of 14 and 16.
Additional charges are still pending against Hosman in Colorado County including 10 counts of promoting child pornography and three counts of invasive visual recordings.