Veterans Affairs Doc V. Franklin Sechriest Ignored Red Flags About Neo-Nazi Son Franklin Sechriest, Judge Says

ONE Neo-Nazi minor accused of setting fire to a Texas synagogue on Halloween last year suffers from “numerous mental health problems”, but his parents – one of them is a respected doctor who is currently a senior official of the Department of Veterans Affairs– never got him the treatment he desperately needed, according to a federal judge.

Furthermore, the judge said, after doctors at a top psychiatric hospital assessed Franklin Barrett Sechriest in 2016 and warned his father and mother that their son “shouldn’t have access to guns.” , then they “allowed [him] to get a small arsenal of weapons, including one shotgun, three rifles, and three shotguns. “

The explosive details are revealed in a remand order issued by Judge Mark Lane in December of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, and is currently being first reported by The Daily Beast.

Sechriest, 18, was arrested on arson charges last November on charges of caused more than $150,000 in damage to Beth Israel Congregation in Austin. Austin Fire Department criminal investigators identified the Texas State University freshman using surveillance footage from the temple parking lot showing his Jeep’s license plate number. Plates are traced back to Sechriest’s home in San Marcos, where he is living with his mother, Nicole. Sechriest’s father, Vernon Franklin Sechriest, is a veteran of the United States Navy and orthopedic surgeon Who was appointed chief of staff for the VA Healthcare System in Loma Linda, California on November 21, 2021—Three weeks after his son allegedly set the Congregation of Beth Israel on fire.

FBI agents seized numerous diaries from Sechriest, which they said contained racist and bigotry entries about Jews and people of color. They also found stickers owned by Sechriest, one of which showed a migrant family and read, “No aggressor is innocent.” Another shows police officers, politicians and doctors with Jewish stars on their faces. “Will you kill them all to get your rights?” It says. “The price of freedom is paid in blood.” Other evidence uncovered by investigators included “materials commonly used to make cocktails for Molotov, indicating his intent was to engage in more violent criminal acts and raise the bar.” his danger”.

After the attack on the synagogue, Sechriest wrote in one of his journals, “I burned a synagogue,” according to prosecutors. Three months ago, Sechriest was charged with “an armed robbery involving four Black victims and one Hispanic victim,” they said in a court application. Last week, Sechriest was indicted by a federal grand jury for some damage to religious property, use of fire to commit a federal crime, and arson. If convicted, he faces up to 60 years in prison.

In the years leading up to the synagogue arson, Sechriest’s conduct had “escalated significantly,” according to Lane’s December 15 order.

“That escalation centered on hatred of others, the growing escalation of criminal behavior and a fascination with guns and firearms,” ​​it wrote. “In June 2016, [Sechriest] was evaluated at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas. Following that assessment, a physician prepared a nine-page review of [Sechriest]mental health. The doctor noted that ‘Franklin does not have and must not have access to a firearm.’ Despite that advice, [Sechriest]His parents gave Defendant permission to purchase a small arsenal of weapons, including a handgun, three assault rifles, and three handguns. “

The judge also punished Vernon and Nicole Sechriest for being acutely aware of their son’s growing psychological troubles but failing to find adequate help for him. “There is no doubt that [Sechriest]Parents love, care and want the best for their struggling son,” Lane said in her command. “However, instead of implementing a sustainable mental health treatment plan, nothing consistent has ever been done. Instead, based on the current state of the record, [Sechriest] simple parental supervision at home without any advice or medication. That attempt failed.”

Department of Veterans Affairs

Daniel Wannamaker, Franklin Sechriest’s attorney in court, told The Daily Beast he thinks the Sechriest lived up to their parental obligations.

“I don’t believe parents are at fault,” he said in an email Tuesday night. “They had him checked at Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and Meninger in Houston. I believe they tried. ”

Vernon Sechriest, who passed through “V. Franklin Sechriest” in his professional life, earning about $1 million a year working at the VA from 2015 to 2021, according to federal government procurement data. As a contractor, Sechriest — Chief of Orthopedics and Pediatrics at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System until last fall — was not subject to it. wage limits that govern the payment of federal employees. (For comparison, NIH Director Anthony Fauci Earns $443,312 in 2020.)

Sechriest graduated from Johns Hopkins University, followed by the University of Alabama School of Medicine, His official VA bio says. He later became the practice director of reconstructive surgery at the San Diego Naval Medical Center, and taught medical students at Hopkins. In 2015, he was appointed head of orthopedics at Minneapolis VAa teaching hospital in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

“When asked about my job description, I always say, ‘I’m privileged to take care of the best patients, train the best residents and medical students, and have a positive impact on the health of our patients. largest health care system in the world… I work at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center,’” Sechriest said in 2019.

However, his career was not all successful. In the fall of 2012, Sechriest was hired as an associate at a private chiropractic group in San Diego, according to a civil lawsuit he initiated several years later against his former colleagues. The lawsuit, which stems from a financial dispute between Sechriest and practice, accuses the partners of violating labor and business rules, violating good faith, knowingly interfering with economic advantage, and defaming the description. their about Sechriest to the federal government’s human resources department when he applied for his VA job.

In a cross-complaint, the alleged Sechriest partners “refused” to pay a debt of $398,000 for the operation. In an exhibit included in Sechriest’s own complaint that he claims is defamatory, the practice’s office manager submitted a form to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is verifying demonstrate Sechriest’s previous employment.

In a space marked “Additional information that you feel may be relevant to this person’s suitability for government or security agency employment,” the office manager wrote that after Sechriest quit with six weeks’ notice instead of the six months he had agreed to at the start of the contract, he first ignored his partner’s demands to reimburse them for business-related expenses that they said they had to pay for Sechriest in excess of the revenue he brought in. Sechriest then changed course, arguing that he owed money in the first place, according to the form. “Accordingly, we question his ‘financial integrity’ and believe this reflects poorly on his conduct and general conduct,” it continued, alleging that Sechriest’s refuses to accept certain types of work and often turns away patients who do not have the specific conditions that interest him. in treatment.

“Based on our experience with Dr. Sechriest, we will never place our trust and confidence in any oral agreement with him and will not enter into any business dealings. or any expertise with him in the future”, the office manager on behalf of concluding his statement of practice to OPM.

The fire damaged the exterior of the Beth Israel Church.

Austin Fire Department

In 2021, the Sechriests buy a home in the Austin area so Franklin can attend Texas State and enlist in the Texas State Guard, according to prosecutors. Wannamaker, Sechriest’s attorney, said he has been diversely diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mood Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders and Trigger Syndrome “probable” mast cell, a condition that causes severe allergic reactions.

The family moved around the US quite a bit because of Vernon’s career, and Sechriest finished high school during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Wannamaker. Sechriest had no prior juvenile or adult criminal history, and was “financially dependent on his parents,” court documents said.

Sechriest has been at Loma Linda VA for almost six months. The VA did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment and details on Sechriest’s salary, but the job he holds was advertised last year with rates ranging from $150,000 to $350,000 a year.

In an earlier interview, Wannamaker told The Daily Beast that Sechriest was “not a typical 18-year-old.” He said that Sechriest has been radicalized online by “far-right nationalists who prey on people like my clients.”

“Right now, we’re trying to figure out if my client can afford it,” Wannamaker said. “For me, sanity is still a potential problem. I really need to get to the bottom of what’s going on in Franklin’s world, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do that in the state he’s in right now.”

Unlike the parents of accused school shooter Ethan Crumbley, who charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving their 15-year-old son access to a gun According to healthcare attorney Harry Nelson, he allegedly killed four of his classmates in Michigan last November. But apparently the lack of adequate upbringing “seems to indicate a certain lack of sensitivity to really think about the risk they are putting their son or others at.” And potential civilian clothes It’s a different matter altogether. (Vernon Sechriest, whose personal activity was founded in the State of Minnesota, Dissolution held in January.)

“Clearly this is a young man surrounded by rage, to the point of being mentally ill,” Nelson told The Daily Beast. “And this is part of a time in our culture where these things are at all-time highs. And I think people are struggling to get around what we do about it. Personally, I just think we have to do more to not just focus on the things in front of us, like, ‘How do we keep guns away from the kids?’ but, ‘Why does our society produce so many people of this type? What can be done? And is there any way that the parent can do anything? ‘ I don’t think there are easy answers here, because much of it is really about how American lives are changing. ”

The VA and Vernon Sechriest did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily Beast. Franklin Sechriest remains in custody awaiting trial.

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