'A myriad of mental health issues': Judge criticizes VA official for ignoring red flags about his Neo-Nazi son
A federal magistrate judge is criticizing the parents of a teenage neo-Nazi teen —one being a well-known physician who now serves as "a high-ranking Veterans Affairs (VA) official"— after they failed to provide him with the mental help he so desperately needed following an evaluation that took place nearly five years ago.
According to The Daily Beast, the teen Franklin Barrett Sechriest, 18, is facing a string of arson charges for setting Congregation Beth Israel on fire last Halloween.
The disturbed teen, who the judge says is facing “a myriad of mental health issues,” reportedly caused over $150,000 in damage to the Austin, Texas synagogue. Sechriest, a college freshman at Texas State University, was identified by the Austin Fire Department after surveillance captured his jeep's license plate in the synagogue's parking lot.
However, Judge Mark Lane of the U.S. District Court of Western Texas argues that the incident likely could have been avoided if Sechriest had received mental assistance. In the judge's December order, he noted that the teen's behavior had “dramatically escalated.”
Sechriest’s father, Dr. Vernon Franklin Sechriest, is an orthopedic surgeon and Navy veteran who was recently appointed to serve as the chief of staff at the VA Healthcare System in Loma Linda, Texas.
“That escalation has centered on hatred for other people, an ever-increasing escalation of criminal behavior and a passion for firearms and weapons,” it states.
“In June of 2016, [Sechriest] was evaluated at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas. In the wake of that evaluation, a physician prepared a nine-page evaluation of [Sechriest]’s mental health," the order adds. "The physician noted that ‘Franklin does not have and should not have access to firearms.’ Despite that admonition, [Sechriest]’s parents allowed the Defendant to acquire a small arsenal of firearms, including one shotgun, three rifles, and three handguns.”
Per The Daily Beast, Sechriest's parents were also deeply criticized for being "being acutely aware of their son’s worsening psychological troubles but not obtaining sufficient help for him."
“There is no doubt that [Sechriest]’s parents love, care for and want the very best for their troubled son,” Lane said in his order. “Yet rather than implement a sustained mental health treatment plan, nothing consistent was ever done. Instead, based on the current state of the record, [Sechriest] was simply monitored by a parent at home without the benefit of any counseling or medication. That effort failed.”
The latest reports follow the FBI's seizure of multiple diaries belonging to the teen. According to previous FBI reports, the teen's diaries contained: "virulently racist and bigoted entries about Jews and people of color. They also found stickers in Sechriest’s possession, one of which showed a migrant family and read, 'No invader is innocent.'"
Per The Beast: "Another showed police officers, politicians, and doctors with Jewish stars over their faces. 'Would you kill them all to seize your rights?' it said. "'The price of freedom is paid in blood.' Other evidence discovered by investigators included 'materials commonly used to make Molotov cocktails, signifying his intent to engage in more violent criminal conduct and escalate his dangerousness.'”
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