Hunt County, TX – One of three people indicted in connection with an investigation of the local Child Protective Services (CPS) office has been found guilty of official oppression.
A bench trial for Rebekah Ross Thonginh concluded Thursday afternoon in the 354th District Court. Thonginh had been charged with four counts of official oppression and one charge of tampering with physical evidence and had pleaded not guilty. Prosecution proceeded on only one count of official oppression, a misdemeanor, filed in connection with an allegedly unlawful search and seizure in December 2011.
Thonginh was found guilty of the charge by Judge Richard A. Beacom and was sentenced to one year in county jail, with the sentence probated for two years. Thonginh was also fined $2,000, ordered to complete community service and to serve 30 days in the Hunt County Jail, starting no earlier than Oct. 8.
Thonginh was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in September 2013 alongside Laura Ard and Natalie Ausbie Reynolds, who have also entered not guilty pleas and have trials pending next month.
Ard, of Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Reynolds, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with/fabricating physical evidence.
The charges alleged all three acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore and that Ross and Reynolds conducted unlawful searches and/or seizures in connection with CPS investigations.
The tampering with physical evidence indictments allege all three defendants acted together on our about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk assessment involving Aretha Moore … with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”
In three of the official oppression indictments, Reynolds and Ross were alleged to have acted together as CPS investigators to have subjected three separate individuals who were under CPS investigations “to search and seizure that the defendant knew as unlawful” on or about Dec. 16, 2011, March 28, 2012 and June 14, 2012.
Ross was also alleged to have subjected a fourth individual under CPS investigation to an unlawful search and/or seizure on June 27, 2012.