Volunteers Sworn In By Judge Clark

An East Texas non-profit was forced to hand over its volunteer records on Tuesday. Judge Carole Clark issued an order for the records of Court Appointed Special Advocates of East Texas. The volunteer records were delivered to attorney, Sean Healy, who was named guardian ad litem by Judge Clark. Tuesday, CASA volunteers had the opportunity to get re certified and serve in Judge Clark's courtroom as an individual.

Judge Clark says, "I will encourage them to continue on as nothing has happened because this is all about the kids and CASA with there internal problems those are things that have to be solved but the kids are the reason we are all here." However, a few of the CASA volunteers that we spoke with on Tuesday, said they were not going to the meeting and did not want to volunteer for Judge Carole Clark. Judge Clark did swear in more than 20 volunteers. CASA volunteer, Betty Fiederlein decided to get sworn in. Fiederlein says, "After it was explained to us by Sean Healy and Judge Clark it gives us an opportunity to go ahead and represent our children and that's what we have to look at, the cases we have at this time."

Healy says, "The volunteer will be working for the children under Judge Clark appointment, if someone volunteered for CASA and met the requirements that East Texas CASA imposed on their volunteers, unless something has changed they can volunteer. It is not my job or Judge Clark's intent from reading her order to put any new hoops in front of them that they have to jump through."

So, if the requirements are the same and Judge Clark told us the volunteers are doing a great job. Why was an order issued preventing them in her courtroom? Judge Clark says, "Two and a half weeks ago things just really changed as far as what was going on with CASA and so I want them to look at their internal problems and solve them."

However, volunteer Paula Cross, says she thinks Judge Clark is basing her decision on personal feelings. Cross says, "I feel like she is using CASA and the children as a smoke screen when actually she's upset because her friends have been put on paid leave." Healy says, "Whatever needs to be sorted out with the CASA organization that is something that the adults need to sort out on their own time these children are in the mist of crises." CASA Chairman John Carr did tell us that Texas CASA, the parent organization will be back in Tyler on Monday, to continue to audit the agency.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com