© 2008, The San Marcos Mercury
by BRAD ROLLINS
JOHNSON CITY — Interim sheriff Sherman Brodbeck was tried in 1987 on a felony charge of sexual assault of a child stemming from accusations that he raped his 14-year-old stepdaughter.
Currently the chief deputy who has run the office since Hays County Sheriff Allen Bridges died Dec. 6, Brodbeck is one of several candidates the commissioners court is considering appointing sheriff until a special election in November 2010. Brodbeck’s allies, including Bridge’s widow and Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley call him an experienced lawman who can transition seamlessly into the role.
“I’ve heard the scuttlebutt and I can tell you that there are no skeletons in his closet. Everybody knows his past, knows what he is about,” former Pct. 4 Commissioner Russ Molenaar, himself a former sheriff’s deputy, told the commissioners court this morning. The court decided to delay the decision until a forthcoming special session, maybe on Monday.
More than 20 years ago, a Blanco County jury deadlocked, nine to three, on whether to convict Brodbeck of sexually assaulting his wife’s daughter from another relationship in 1985, court records show. When three jurors declined to convict, District Judge Clayton E. Evans declared a mistrial.
Prosecutors decided not to seek a second trial when the alleged victim and her grandmother decided she did not want to testify again in the case, District Attorney Sam Oatman told the Mercury. The criminal charge was based on an 1985 case but prosecutors maintained that Brodbeck abused the girl more than 100 times during a two-year period starting in January 1984.
The girl was 17 years old when she wrote the district attorney in August 1988, “I think it would be best for all involved if we were not put through another trial. … It is enough for me to know that Sherman will be punished for what he did on Judgement Day. I know he will have to face up to his sins.”
Brodbeck’s wife, the victim’s mother, stood by Brodbeck during the trial and refused to testify against her husband in the case. She wrote, “My mother asked my grandmother not to go through another trial and she in turn asked the same of me. To go through another trial would be like living through that hell all over again.”
Brodbeck, who was the Blanco County sheriff from 1981 to 1985, did not return a message left at the sheriff’s office Tuesday evening.
UPDATE 7:16 p.m. DEC. 16 | Brodbeck’s advocate on the court, Conley, said the stepdaughter’s allegations were part of a family dispute and notes that Brodbeck has served for more than 20 years as chief deputy under three sheriffs, Bridges, Don Montague and Paul Hastings.
“He’s been serving this county for last 20 years and I don’t think it is a relevant issue especially since he has said he will retire in 2010 and be a caretaker of the department. This is being thrown out there more for political causes than anything. Everybody that’s been around Hays County, particularly in law enforcement, knew this was out there and that he was not convicted of it. It was a family dispute that unfortunately spilled out in the public eye in a very sensational way.
“He is far and away the logical person to put in there and this is being offered as an excuse why not to pick the logical choice to replace our good sheriff for next 24 months. He knew this would come out at some point in this discussion but it’s unfortunate that he has to be assassinated like this at the end of his long and distinguished career when he has said he has no political ambitions,” Conley said.