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ICE Confirms 27 Cases Of Mumps In Texas Detention Facilities, Children Under 16 No Longer Included In Proposed Migrant Shelter, HPD Investigates Local Catholic Priest, And More

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

The ICE Joe Corley Detention Facility is located in Conroe.

ICE Confirms 27 Cases Of Mumps In Texas Detention Facilities

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told News 88.7 on Thursday there are 27 confirmed cases of mumps in detention facilities across Texas.

As we reported this week, there are 13 cases in the Houston area. The Houston Contract Detention Facility has eight confirmed cases and the Joe Corley Detention Facility, located in Conroe, has five cases.

The remaining 14 cases of mumps are in the San Antonio Area of Responsibility (AOR), as ICE refers to the geographical sections within the state. The largest cluster of cases is at the South Texas ICE Processing Center, in Pearsall, where ten people are infected.

ICE also confirmed two cases at the Rio Grande Detention Center, in the Laredo area; one case at the Laredo Processing Center; and one case at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Bayview, Texas.

The location of a new Southwest Key facility slated to house migrant children.

Children Under 16 No Longer Included In Proposed Houston Migrant Shelter

A proposed Houston shelter originally slated to hold unaccompanied migrant children ranging from infants to teenagers is now seeking only to house 16- and 17-year-olds.

Southwest Key has updated its permit request and no longer plans to house small children at a shelter near downtown Houston. Once repairs are made within the building consistent with city rules, Southwest Key will be issued the certificate needed for it to open the shelter, the city announced.

The shelter will house more than 200 immigrant youth, Southwest Key said in a statement to News 88.7.

The non-profit’s application ignited a political battle last year as city leaders spoke out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families apprehended along the southern border. Mayor Sylvester Turner said he opposed the shelter because it was planning to house young children who were separated from their families.

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Houston Police Investigate Local Catholic Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse

The Houston Police Department is investigating a local Catholic priest based on accusations of sexual abuse by two alleged victims, the Houston Chronicle reported.

HPD’s Special Victims Division is conducting the investigation. Although police haven’t identified the priest, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has disclosed that it forwarded two complaints to HPD about Father John Keller, a priest at Prince of Peace Catholic Community, located in Tomball.

Keller has been temporarily removed from ministry.

The Chronicle reports the two complaints are among four reported to the Special Victim’s Division since January 31.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (center) during a press conference held on Feb. 12, 2019, to discuss plans to make the county jail more child-friendly.

Making Harris County Jail More Child-Friendly

Experts from the National Institute of Corrections are visiting Houston this week as part of an initiative to make the Harris County jail more child-friendly. Over the past year, the Sheriff’s Office conducted a needs assessment on children of incarcerated parents in collaboration with Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

One of the findings of the study is that seven percent of all Harris County children have a parent who spends time in the county jail each year.

The Sheriff categorized his department’s goal to make the jail more child-friendly as “ambitious.” “We seek to make visitation more child-friendly, making a child-friendly space in the visitors’ lobbies, developing curricula and training deputies on interacting with the children when they visit the jail,” he said this week.

Gonzalez also plans on reviewing his department’s policies and determining best practices for when deputies arrest a parent while a child is present.