District 2 SAISD Board Trustee candidate Royce Sullivan speaks to his values and priorities during a town hall put on by SA RISE at Tafolla Middle School.
District 2 SAISD board candidate Royce Sullivan speaks during a town hall put on by SA RISE at Tafolla Middle School. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

A Child Protective Services affidavit from December 2010 details allegations that Royce Sullivan, a candidate for San Antonio Independent School Board’s District 2 seat, physically abused one of his children and sexually abused one of his stepchildren.

Between July 17 and Aug. 12, 2010, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “received multiple referrals alleging physical abuse” by Sullivan, according to the affidavit.

“The multiple referrals alleged that the children described being inappropriately disciplined by their father on various occasions, and that the children had sustained previous injuries as a result of the physical abuse,” the affidavit stated.

Sullivan denied the allegations and stated that he had never physically or sexually abused any child. No charges stemming from the allegations were filed against him, he said.

“[The allegations in the affidavit,] a lot of that was perversion and a lot of lies put in little kids’ heads,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s oldest son, Josiah Sullivan, now 20, who was named in the affidavit as the subject of physical abuse, denied he had ever been physically or sexually abused by his father and told the Rivard Report that CPS investigators didn’t make any attempts to ask nuanced questions.

In December 2010, Sullivan’s stepchild told a school counselor of being touched “on his privates by his step-father Royce D. Sullivan,” according to the affidavit.

The child was later interviewed by a detective with San Antonio Police Department. CPS ordered Sullivan to have no contact with the child and another step-sibling.

A judge ordered Sullivan and his wife, Jessica, to move out of their home and Sullivan’s mother moved in until a placement hearing could be held, according to the affidavit.

CPS investigators said they could not provide further documentation or information on the specific investigation. They said when allegations of sexual abuse by a step-parent are made, investigators typically ask the step-parent to leave the home for a period of time so an investigation can occur.

Sullivan confirmed that he moved out of his home in December 2010, saying he and his children were back living under the same roof in about two years.

Addressing the claims of sexual abuse, Sullivan said the allegations stemmed from normal interactions of a parent with a child.

“Because I’m a father, I have probably touched all of my kids’ private parts based on the fact that I am a father that is very in touch with them,” Sullivan said. “I wash my kids, clothe my kids, feed my kids, I’m teaching them how to wash [themselves.]”

Sullivan said when the child was questioned about being touched in a specific area, the child was telling the truth but did not mention that the touches had been appropriate.

Sullivan denied any allegations of physical abuse, stating that his sons played football and often played “rough” with one another.

“We are very rough – there are often times that their mom would have to say, ‘You are playing too rough with them,’” Sullivan said. “I have one that comes flying across the living room and tackles across the couch. That was boys playing with their daddy. In their own playing, there have been several sprains, several cuts, several bruises, but that was just on their own.”

Sullivan’s stepchild who initially reported abuse in December 2010 was ordered to have no contact with Sullivan in May 2012 as part of a divorce proceeding between the stepchild’s father and Jessica Sullivan, his mother.

On weekends when the stepchild visits his mother, Sullivan said he leaves the home.

“This is probably one of the most horrific things that has ever happened in my life,” Sullivan said of the 2010 allegations and subsequent investigation.

Also in 2010, Sullivan pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors connected to an incident in which he allegedly struck children. Sullivan told the Rivard Report that these charges stemmed from allegations made by an ex-wife in the midst of a custody battle.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.