A Burleson man who pleaded guilty to participating with his wife in the sexual "education" of his 11-year-old stepdaughter should be allowed to enter homes and businesses as a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration technician, an administrative law judge has said, undercutting a state agency's stance.
In her order signed this week, Administrative Judge Anne Perez found that William Thomas Enox, 47, is a changed man who has worked hard to put his life back in order.
She noted that while indecency with a child is categorized as a sexually violent offense, "by all accounts Mr. Enox remained a passive participant and was not the primary instigator of the abuse.
"He testified that he has also given up destructive behaviors including alcohol, drugs and pornography, because those habits were inextricably linked to his offense."
Enox, a registered sex offender, pleaded guilty to one count of indecency with a child, a second-degree felony, in March 1998. He was granted deferred adjudication and placed under community supervision for 10 years, which he successfully completed.
The girl's mother, Cheryl Enox, 43, played a role in the abuse and is also a registered sex offender.
William Enox, who could not be reached for comment, is still married to the same woman.
The girl, who was not named in court documents, went to live with her biological father after she was abused.
Perez also noted that "a long time" has passed since Enox's crime and that he has committed no other offenses. Furthermore, Perez found that Enox supports his family, is a homeowner and pays his property and income taxes. He has also been a student at Tarrant County College, the University of Texas at Arlington and other universities.
Perez does not comment on her decisions, an official said. Her findings will be used by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation -- which proposed denying Enox a license -- to determine whether he is "fit" to be licensed, said Kerry Sullivan, general counsel for the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
Sullivan said the licensing department will consider the recommendation and will have some discretion in the outcome of the case. However, "they're typically bound by the facts as determined by the administrative law judge.
"They do have the discretion of applying the facts to the big question of whether this person should receive a license," he said.
Susan Stanford, spokeswoman for the licensing department, said the department has filed exceptions disagreeing with the judge's opinion.
"It will go to SOAH and they will look at it and either recommend change or not recommend a change" she said. "At that time it will come back to us and it will go before our commissioners, who will either accept or modify finding."
The abuse was brought to light in December 1996 after a Child Protective Services investigation.
The CPS report cited in state documents said that the 11-year-old, her mother and Enox were lying on a bed when the mother instructed her to touch her husband's genitals. William Enox, then 33, also kept adult pornography behind the headboard of his bed, and his stepdaughter had seen pictures of naked adults and children on a home computer, according to the report.
The report said that Cheryl Enox also abused the child. She did not deny her daughter's statements and said that she too, was sexually abused as a child and "explained she was attempting to teach [her daughter] about sex," according to state documents.
She was also given deferred adjudication and placed under community supervision for 10 years. She and her husband were required to participate in a sex-offender treatment program throughout their period of supervision.
Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126