The deputy attorney general that Mayor Adrian Fenty placed at the head of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation services last week led the investigation that toppled the agency's previous chief, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner.
The behind-the-scenes maneuvering has raised credibility issues. DYRS handles sentencing, commitment and rehabilitation of juvenile criminals. It's now Robert Hildum's job to set the sentencing for the juvenile offenders he previously prosecuted as the former head of the attorney general's public safety division.
"Hildum's new job undermines the credibility of being able to say he provided an objective evaluation of the system," said D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells, whose committee oversees DYRS. "Now, he will have to overcome the argument that he's a prosecutor in charge of sentencing."
Wells told The Examiner he will be holding a hearing in September where he plans to question Hildum on the changes he's planning for the troubled agency.
The Office of the Attorney General began the investigation after three DYRS wards were charged with killing District middle school principal Brian Betts in April. The Examiner has reported how at least 10 DYRS wards have been charged with murder since the beginning of the year and at least six have been slain.
A May 20 version of the investigation report lists Hildum as the primary investigator, but his name was dropped from the final July 14 report, which Attorney General Peter Nickles released Wednesday. No lead investigator is named in that final report.
On Wednesday, Nickles told The Examiner that he led the investigation, not Hildum.
DYRS produced a response to the May 20 version of the attorney general's report, a source with knowledge of the investigation told The Examiner. The DYRS response makes clear that the rehabilitation agency and the attorney general's office that prosecutes young criminals are meant to be kept separate.
An 18-year-old District man accused of shooting a 20-year-old Maryland man to death in Adams Morgan is at least the 10th Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services ward to be accused of murder this year, The Examiner has learned. Police arrested Torain Devon Adams on first-degree murder charges Tuesday. He's accused of murdering Victor Mba-Jones Jr. in the early morning hours of June 27. Mba-Jones died at a local hospital on July 19. Adams was committed to DYRS and has a criminal history that includes assault on a police officer, a source with knowledge of his case told The Examiner. It was not immediately clear if he had run away from authorities before the shooting or had been released into the community for rehabilitation. -- Freeman Klopott