“Shocked” and “disappointed” are the words used by Brady Police Chief Steve Thomas to describe his and the department’s reaction to the felony charges filed against a former officer for child sexual assault.
A McCulloch County grand jury yesterday indicted 23-year-old Felix Sanchez-Savaria on three counts of sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony. Sanchez, who had been under investigation by the Texas Rangers since the beginning of August, was immediately terminated from the Brady Police Department.
“The day that I found out that the investigation was started [I put him on administrative leave] and went ahead and got him off the street and then let the criminal investigation go on and take its course,” Chief Thomas said. “Once I found out he was indicted, obviously we needed to terminate employment.”
Sanchez joined the Brady Police Department on Feb. 25, 2014. Thomas said that he was notified of the investigation on Aug. 10 and immediately put Sanchez on paid leave. He was the only person in the department who knew of the investigation, and now everyone is working to restore the public’s confidence.
“I think everybody understands that this is a horrific situation and there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny on the city and the department. While I won’t say I welcome that, I would say that we know we have to be held accountable for what we do. We’re out there policing a community and trying to make every effort to keep them as safe as possible. You find out about one of your own being involved in something like this and [you’re] shocked and disappointed.
The news of the indictment has rocked the small community and betrayed the trust of citizens. Several have taken to social media where they have voiced a distrust in the law enforcement of the city, while others share an ironic image of the officer accused of the crimes in which he is standing outside the Brady courthouse next to a sign reading “I walked for sexual assault”, clad in a dress and heels. “So much for protect and serve,” several comments read.
For his part, Chief Thomas said he knows these allegations have hurt the community, but promised to continue to follow through on the oath to keep the city and its citizens safe.
“We can’t expect community support and the community to back us if we turned a blind eye to very important and significant things like this,” he said. “We’re back out there today; we’ll be back out there tomorrow and we’ll show that this is not indicative of the entire city or the entire agency.”
Felix Sanchez-Savaria is facing two to 20 years in prison if convicted of any of the charges against him. He is due to be arraigned in September.