“I hear nothing; I see nothing; I know nothing,” said Judge Felton and his colleagues on the Commissioners Court, after releasing confidential educational records regarding complaints by student nurses.
Six Shooter Junction – Allegations that former McLennan Jail Director John Wells resigned his $330,000 per year contract due to complaints about sexual harassment of student nurses are based on educational records the federal government prohibits from public disclosure, according to the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General.
Wells reportedly resigned in a letter to County Judge Scott Felton on March 9, effective April 30 because, according to students’ complaints revealed in papers released by MCC’s Vice President of Instruction Donnie Balmos, Wells allegedly told a Hispanic student nurse that he likes Hispanic women. She reported that Wells told her “that the first person he ‘impregnated’ was a 13-year-old Hispanic girl,” according to a local news report.
The release of confidential information was authorized by an attorney who represents MCC named Phil McCleery, according to the report.
In a response to the attorney who serves the McLennan County Judge who sought an opinion from the AG’s office, “You have submitted unreacted educational records for our review. We note the county judge’s office is not an educational institution…You state the county judges office obtained the information at issue directly from an educational institution. Because our office is prohibited from reviewing these educational records to determine the applicability of FERPA (federal law governing educational confidentiality) we will not address the applicability of FERPA to any of the submitted records.”
The June 15 letter from Assistant Attorney General James Coggeshall, addressed to County Judge Scott M. Felton, goes on to say that the Commissioners’ Court must withhold exhibits containing allegations of complaint against Wells, while releasing other records deemed suitable for publication, unless “the employee did not make a timely election to keep information confidential.”
According to the published information, “…MCC vocational nursing students reported that Wells sexually harassed them to the point that they tried to schedule their rounds at the jail when Wells was not working.”
When Wells complained in an angry call to Kim Sales-McGee, director of vocational nursing at MCC, she wrote a letter on February 17 to Sheriff’s Captain Ricky Armstrong stating, “He also stated that if I wanted the students to be with the nurses on the days that he isn’t there, then he would cancel the students’ clinical rotation. I found this very strange considering that at any other clinical rotation, the students, the majority of the time, follow the nurses as the nurse makes the rounds.”
When Wells suspended jail rotations, according to the correspondence, MCC pulled the students from the vocational program because “I cannot have my students feeling intimidated or harassed by Dr. Wells,” according to the letter signed by Sales-McGee.
Wells successfully completed a probated sentence after pleading guilty to DWI in 2012. The Commissioners’ Court allowed to continue his employment contract at the time, doing business as Melchizedek Medical, PLLC.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara and members of the Commissioners’ Court all claimed to have no knowledge of the allegations made by student nurses and Wells’ alleged proclivities for Hispanic women, when questioned by a mainstream media reporter about the allegations made in the educational records.
McNamara reportedly said…”it’s not my deal.”
Such a deal.
So mote it be.