Texas county to pay female constable deputies $1.5 million to settle sexual misconduct lawsuit

Jun 5, 2024, 11:41 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas county has agreed to pay a group of female deputies $1.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed they were abused and harassed when a constable’s office turned undercover operations into a drunken “playground for sexual exploitation.”

Harris County commissioners approved the settlement Tuesday, three years after the women alleged that as rookie deputies in a constable precinct in Houston, they were subjected to unwarranted touching and kissing, molestation and sexual ridicule during their work in a human trafficking unit.

The lawsuit alleged that undercover “bachelor party” sting operations were supposed to ultimately arrest those behind sex trafficking businesses. But the lawsuit said those operations turned more into parties where officers drank heavily and the female deputies, who were given little to no training in undercover work, were fondled and kissed by their supervisory officer or were told to give lap dances to other male deputies.

Constables are elected positions in Texas, and constables and their deputies have the same powers of a city police officer or sheriff’s deputy. They can investigate, arrest and use force if they suspect criminal activity.

“It’s been a long road. My clients are happy to have this in the rearview mirror. It’s been an honor to represent such amazing people,” said Cordt Akers, an attorney for the women.

A spokesman for Constable Alan Rosen declined comment Wednesday.

In a statement when the lawsuit was filed in 2021, Rosen said an internal affairs investigation by his office found no violations of law or policy and that the women had never submitted a formal complaint.

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Texas county to pay female constable deputies $1.5 million to settle sexual misconduct lawsuit