Fort Worth

Affidavit: UNT Health Science Center VP touched, kissed teen baby sitter

Stephen Barrett was fired Wednesday as svice president of operations at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
Stephen Barrett was fired Wednesday as svice president of operations at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Star-Telegram archives

A UNT Health Science Center vice president was fired Wednesday after being accused of inappropriately touching his child’s 15-year-old baby sitter while asking, “How adventurous are you?”

After Stephen D. Barrett then allegedly began kissing the teen on her neck, she told him to stop and sent her mother a text message asking to be picked up immediately, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The girl’s mother told police that she picked up her daughter and Barrett’s child and left the location after the July 2015 incident.

She told officers she held off on notifying police until September 2015, because she wanted Barrett to get counseling but felt he was not “cooperating sufficiently,” according to the affidavit, which was written by Detective W.K. Maddox.

The case was originally assigned to Dennis Hutchins, a former detective in the Crimes Against Children unit who was fired in July over his mishandling of investigations.

As part of a task force review of Hutchins’ cases, the investigation was reassigned to Maddox in May 2016, culminating in the arrest of Barrett, 41, on Wednesday. Barrett was formally charged Friday with indecency with a child/fondling, a second-degree felony.

Barrett, who was freed on $10,000 bail shortly after his arrest, could not be reached for comment Friday.

In an October 2015 interview with a Child Protective Services investigator, he said he was hung over and didn’t feel well when the teen had come to his house to baby-sit his child.

He told the CPS investigator that he had decided to have another drink to help with his hangover and only remembered sitting on the couch with the teen, not his actions toward her.

“Stephen related that it was clear he ‘did something outlandish’ while he was intoxicated,” Maddox wrote in the affidavit. “Stephen corroborated the events before and after the reported offense, including the fact that his daughter left the house with the victim, despite that not being in the original plan for the day.”

A forensic interview was done of the teen accuser in August in which she said Barrett kissed her on the neck and rubbed her thigh and vagina over her clothing.

She said Barrett later claimed he was drunk during the incident but she did not believe him because he did not smell of alcohol or appear to be in an altered mental state.

“The victim related that Stephen had slow music playing when she got to his house, which was out of the ordinary,” the affidavit states. “The victim described Stephen’s behavior as being like a boy who is trying to flirt with a girl and described Stephen as trying to get close to her by opening up to her.”

Jeff Carlton, a UNT Health Science Center spokesman, said the university first learned about the case on Wednesday when the college was contacted by authorities who were serving the warrant on Barrett. Barrett was terminated by Wednesday afternoon, he said.

Barrett joined the Health Science Center in 1999 as a construction manager. He was named vice president of operations in 2010, Carlton said.

According to his profile on the UNT website, which has been taken down, Barrett’s responsibilities as vice president of operations included leading the center’s Police Department, the Safety Office and Central Services.

The profile indicates that he is married with a young daughter.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd.

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