Three current and former deputies of the Harris County, Texas, Constable’s Office, Precinct-1 filed a lawsuit Monday against their supervising officers alleging civil rights claims of sexual harassment, sexual battery, and retaliation, as well as loss of bodily integrity.
The complaint alleges that Constable Alan Rosen, Assistant Chief Chris Gore, and Lieutenant Shane Rigdon sexually harassed and assaulted the deputies, or approved of the conduct. According to the complaint filed by the three deputies and a fourth “whistleblower,” a human trafficking advocate formerly employed by the Human Trafficking Unit (HTU) of Harris County’s Constable Office, Precinct-1’s HTU routinely participated in so-called “sting” operations to find sex traffic handlers in which a male undercover officer posed as an ordinary citizen in order to get a trafficked sex worker to solicit illegal acts, at which time the officer would make an arrest.
These sting operations changed, however, when Gore, under the approval of Rosen, changed the format of the operations to “bachelor party” stings. Gore allegedly hand-picked “young, attractive, and Latina” female deputies who, in some cases, were not trained to participate in undercover operations. During these operations, Gore would instruct the female deputies on what kinds of provocative clothing they should wear, purchase sex toys with County funds, order the deputies to consume hard liquor, and, in order “to maintain cover … would be wearing only boxer shorts, fully aroused, drunk, [and] kissing and licking [the deputies’] bodies.”
One deputy was forced to participate in training that consisted of her dressing in revealing clothing and giving her male superior a lap dance. One sting consisted of sending a deputy as a “sacrificial lamb” who was ordered to enter an establishment with a known sexual offender, disrobe in front of him, and only once she was assaulted could she give the signal for help from her colleagues.
Beyond the horrific details of sexual harassment that was forced upon the deputies during the sting operations, the complaint alleges that each deputy was subjected to retaliation and verbal harassment. After formal complaints were brought to officials in the County, the deputies would simply be removed from their capacity in the HTU and replaced, with no action taken to stop future sexual harassment and assaults.
The complaint also alleges that when Constable Rosen was confronted by the “whistleblower,” Rosen did nothing to stop Gore and later transferred her out of the HTU and prohibited her from contacting any victims of the HTU’s sting operations. She was eventually fired for disclosing the sexual harassment and sexual assault occurring in the HTU to the Harris County Internal Affairs Division.
This lawsuit comes days after a Harris County Precinct-1 sergeant accused of sexually abusing children took his own life after police attempted to arrest him outside of Houston, Texas.