Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ex-Lawman Tells Court His Fears Over Accused Rapist

R.S. Gates touts GPS bracelet monitoring to Commissioners

Waco--When Ben Morrison walked out of McLennan County Jail on June 1, he was accused of 8 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a female child over a period of several years.

The incidents started when the girl was only 8 years old and Mr. Morrison was a computer technology student living in campus housing at TSTC.

Today, he is at large under an indictment returned last week for the 8 counts of sexual assault, plus an additional count of continuing sexual abuse.

It bothers R.S. Gates, a licensed peace officer with more than 20 years experience who started as a turnkey in the County Jail, then worked his way up as a crime scene technician, patrol officer and detective, that Mr. Morrison, 37, of Bruceville, lives near his home in the countryside near Moody.

Use of electronic GPS bracelets to monitor the whereabouts and movements of accused sexual predators, drunk drivers, those accused of domestic violence and other offenders with medical problems could save taxpayers as much as $1 million a year in jail costs, he told Commissioners.

He joined the Chief of the investigating agency, the Texas State Technical College Police Department, Rob Williams, and Abel Reyna, a seasoned member of the criminal defense bar who is running as a Republican candidate for District Attorney, in their concerns that the system can find no way to house Mr. Morrison due to the nature of his medical condition and the seriousness of the offenses for which he is charged.

He suggested this may be a factor in the drastic action of allowing him his freedom while such heinous charges are pending.

Mr. Gates made it clear he is not criticizing the two magistrates who took the action of releasing the man on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond that required no outlay of a fee for his release.

"I never had and do not now have any reason to question the actions of the Judges. The chief of the investigating agency and a candidate for Criminal District Attorney both find this to be an unusual circumstance," Mr. Gates said in prepared remarks delivered during the public comment session of the Commissioners' Court meeting Tuesday morning.

"News reports I have read indicate Morrison was arrested at the V.A. Hospital. This is important because the cost of housing a prisoner is $45.50 a day, a prisoner with special medical needs might cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars a day."

Mr. Gates said the fee for electronic monitoring "while less than $13.00 a day (the approximate cost of GPS monitoring) is an 80% savings, the reality is implementation of electronic monitoring which allows for house arrest could save hundreds of thousands of dollars because people with special medical needs would be responsible for their own care."

Civigenics, Inc., which operates the McLennan County Jail as a private contractor, bills taxpayers $45.50 per diem for each prisoner.

Mr. Gates anticipated criticism of his wife owning Seymour Detection Services as a possible "conflict of interest" on his part, but defended his concern because her organization charges no start-up costs to place an inmate on monitoring.

"...Commissioner Ray Meadows was quoted saying implementation of electronic monitoring could save taxpayers $800,000 a year," he went on. The estimate was given in the year 2007.

"That number today is closer to $1 million."

Past estimates have been as high as $65 per day for electronic GPS monitoring, he noted. The device used by his wife, Utahna Gates, in her business includes real-time alcohol use monitoring and constant surveillance of those accused of domestic violence to see that they do not violate protective orders by encroaching upon areas they have been ordered to stay out of.

Under the terms of a new state law, H.R. 1506, accused perpetrators of domestic violence may be required by judges to pay for the service in order to secure their release under bond.


  1. R.S. Gates needs to stop kissing the asses of these Judges who let this Predator out of jail w/o any conditions. Your articles say, it would cost between $15 to $65 per day, yeah how much is it really costing your agencies now that he's out of jail and you can't find him? The pros of using this Technology like GPS, is that at anytime you can turn the thing on and Bing, know where he/she is. But since Mr. Morrison, A High Priority Sexual Predator, is on the lamb, what's it costing you, (Oh I'm sorry the Tax-Payers) now? I sure hope he doesn't attack another young minor, because then that family will sure have a good reason to sue all your asses!!!

  2. David,
    This is R. S. Gates. God bless you brother. I was afraid no one really cared about this situation. There were 30 other people in that room and the county population is 230,000. One man stood up. Where were you? Where were the other 200K plus citizens of McLennan County?
    You can call me any name you like, but if you show up in McLennan County Commissioners' Court and demand something be done about this, I will shake your hand while you give me a piece of your mind. News reports indicate the victim was 8 years old. I am losing sleep because the technology is available at no cost to the taxpayers. The cost is $12.17 a day. The news reported tonight the judge was required by law to release Morrison under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 17.151. If citizens demand better, there does not have to be another victim. If we just vent on a blog there could be many victims, which makes ALL of us responsible. Hope to see you in court. If you look up the above legal reference, be sure you look at Art. 17.44 of the same code. It authorizes electronic monitoring and is just a few pages down from the article that let this guy walk out of the jail.
    For the record, several judges in McLennan and surrounding counties are aware of my wife's business and have chosen to NOT utilize the service. My wife and I are losing sleep over this person being on the loose; that is the reason we have brought this matter to the publics attention. If there are more victims I will worry that I could have done more but I did do something.

  3. Mr. Gates, My family and I have more interest in the case than you think. This guy, was married to my wife about a decade ago, fathered, my daughter whom I meet 3 yrs into her life when I met her mother after moving to Houston, TX. We're currently trying to revoke his parental rights over his daughter, so I can adopt her legally. This guy is a complete scum bag, and needs to be brought back to jail to face these charges. It terrifies my wife and I knowing that this guy is out there and no one knows where he is. If there is anything I can do to help your cause out to get the word out about Monitoring, either with GPS or RF ID'ing let me know. Like I said, we live in Houston, Tx. Let me know the next time your going before the Commission in McLennan County, I'd stand be your side! If there is some way we can talk off line, let me know the name is David Theimer (Look me up on FB)