CPS ‘suspends’ relationship with West Texas
Rehab after 2 arrested for falsifying drug tests
ABILENE, TX – Child Protective Services has suspended its relationship with West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abilene in the wake of two former rehab center workers being arrested for falsifying drug tests in exchange for personal and sexual favors.
CPS has used West Texas Rehab to drug test parents as part of that office’s abuse and neglect investigations.
“As soon as CPS became aware of the allegations against these two West Texas Rehab employees, we immediately suspended our relationship with West Texas Rehab and stopped using their facility for drug-testing,” said Marissa Gonzales, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Gonzales said her agency has taken steps to “ensure that no children were placed in an unsafe situation as a result of incorrectly administered tests.”
“CPS has completed nearly 150 safety checks of children who may have had contact with a family member who took a drug test at this facility,” Gonzales said. “We are confident no children were harmed.”
Asked if CPS had severed ties with West Texas Rehab, Gonzales said: “At this point, it’s accurate to say that CPS business dealings with West Texas Rehab are ‘suspended.'”
Arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in the case were two Abilene men – Shawn William Franklin, 28, and Walter Allen Williams Jr., 29.
On Wednesday, West Texas Rehab officials told KTXS that they learned of the allegations on Aug. 4 and immediately fired Franklin and Williams.
Gonzales said CPS learned of the investigation during the first week of August.
West Texas Rehab officials said they were “devastated by the news” and “felt betrayed.” They also said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the center’s 64-year history and that they’re reevaluating hiring practices as a result.
They said they had no additional comments to make Thursday.
In July, CPS expressed concern to Abilene police about how some parents’ drug tests were being handled at West Texas Rehab.
During a police interview, Franklin admitted being friends with a woman who was working with CPS to get her children back. Text messages between the two revealed the woman would send pictures – “sexual in nature” – to Franklin. In return, Franklin would allow the woman to bring in someone else’s hair to send off for testing.
“Franklin would even look for ‘clean hair’ himself to be submitted on (the woman’s) behalf,” the documents indicate.
Franklin told police he advised the woman to use shampoo and vinegar on her hair to help with her test results. When the woman tested, Franklin said he smelled the vinegar in her hair but still accepted the sample knowing it had been altered.
According to the detective, Franklin and Williams admitted allowing friends to bring in clean urine samples rather than urinate on site. Williams also said he knew some of the samples were “synthetic urine.”
In addition, Williams admitted to accepting a hair follicle from a woman who told him she would be bringing in “someone else’s hair,” the documents indicate. Williams said he knew she needed a clean drug test for CPS, and during May, he accepted false hair from the woman in exchange for oral sex.