An Erath County grand jury has indicted a former captain with the Stephenville Fire Department for theft by a public servant and a local attorney for attempted prostitution.
Stephen Apala, 44, is accused of using his city-issued credit card to charge $43,000 worth of personal items. He was arrested in September 2018, then released from the Erath County Jail after posting a $30,000 bond.
“It is heartbreaking to think that a member of our team would potentially forsake the trust of the public,” City Administrator Alan Barnes said following Apala’s arrest. “We as public employees have no greater responsibility than safeguarding our residents’ hard earned money entrusted to us.”
The grand jury also indicted attorney James Keene for requesting a female client have sex with him in order to satisfy her outstanding legal fees.
He was indicted for criminal attempt - compelling prostitution, a third degree felony.
The alleged victim reported the incident to the Stephenville Police Department in May 2018 and said Keene was representing her on several criminal legal matters as both an attorney and bondsman.
“During the course of the conversation, (the victim) stated that Keene complained that she had failed to timely pay her legal fees, and had committed acts for which her bond could be revoked,” the arrest affidavit states.
That’s when Keene allegedly asked the client to have sex with him.
“Keene indicated that he would no longer ‘put up’ with her if she did not have sexual intercourse with him. (The victim) used a cellular telephone to record the mentioned interaction with James Keene,” the affidavit states. “(The victim) indicated that she felt threatened by the actions of James Keene, and felt that he was in a position of power over her. She also indicated that she did not want to have sexual intercourse with (him) at any time.”
Keene is no longer practicing law in Stephenville, but has not been disbarred.