ANAHUAC – Chambers County District Attorney Cheryl Lieck and her two assistant DAs had a moment of surprise in court Thursday.

Before a scheduled bond hearing could begin, attorney Mitch Adams stood up before Judge Carroll E. Wilborn Jr. and announced he was there to defend and “protect the rights” of Chambers County Sheriff Joe LaRive and Capt. John A. Mulryan.

This statement was surprising due to the fact that it was not LaRive’s or Mulryan’s hearing.

Nothing up to this point had been said or announced about an investigation of LaRive or Mulryan. But Adams insisted to the judge that LaRive and Mulryan “could be the subjects of criminal investigations of their office.”

At the time, Lieck, Eric C. Carcerano and Kathy Esquivel were in Wilborn’s 344th District Court for a bond hearing against accused child sex abuser and former Chambers sergeant jailer Gabriel Davila. 

It should be noted that Mulryan was the investigator in the Davila case. Both he and Mulryan’s supervisor, Chief Deputy Michael W. Wheat, were suspended from duty by LaRive for ignoring multiple sexual abuse allegations against Davila for 16 months.

When speaking before the judge, the CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas) attorney did not mention Wheat by name as a client.

As far as the bond hearing was concerned, the prosecution was looking to increase the bond stipulations in Davila’s bail to keep him away from as many children as possible.

Defense attorneys John P. Denholm and JoAnne M. Musick, both of Houston, were there to defend Davila. They argued the bond change request was unreasonable. 

The judge agreed.

“We might as well put him back in jail across the street because there’s no way he’s going to avoid all the minors walking around,” Judge Wilborn said.

With that matter set aside, the judge went on – with the agreement of all parties – to arraign Davila in court.

Davila pleaded “Not Guilty.” His next court appearance will be after the first of the year.

DA Lieck, incidentally, is the official who spearheaded the Davila investigation, which involved outcries by a child younger than 13.

After discovering the investigation had been ignored 16 months, Lieck located the case documents in the sheriff’s office and contacted the Texas Rangers to help in the investigation. 

In mid-October Davila was indicted on six counts of first degree aggravated sexual assault of a child and six counts of second-degree indecency with a child. He is still out on $60,000 bail. 

The announcement by LaRive’s CLEAT  attorney was a total non-sequitor for assistant district attorney Carcerano.

“Why would the sheriff’s lawyer get up and say that if the sheriff didn’t do anything wrong?” Carcerano said after the hearing. “Why did he show up with a lawyer in the first place? Makes you think, doesn’t it?”

DA Lieck was conservative in her reaction to the development.

“My official comment for why he said that? ‘No Comment,’” she said, with arms crossed and a smile.