Sabrina Sabin's diary: "Things started with comments about how nice I looked, and progressively got worse"

Posted Friday, Jan. 25, 2013  Print Reprints

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The following are excerpts from a diary written by Sabrina Sabin and released by the district attorney's office Friday under the Texas Public Information Act.

Sabin was hired at the district attorney's office in August 2005.

"It wasn't until I moved up into the position as an economics crime prosecutor under Joe Shannon that things at work started becoming uncomfortable and, at times, unbearable and stressful. Things started with comments about how nice I looked, and progressively got worse.

"Comments about how my ass looked good to telling me, 'You know I love you, don't you?' to things like, 'You keep everything we talk about between us.' "

Winter/Spring 2008: "One night, everyone else in the unit had left and we were getting ready to leave for the meeting (editor's insert: at the Fort Worth Club). When I turned around, Joe slapped my ass. I could not believe what had just happened. I knew what it would mean for my career if I said anything, but I was furious that he would find it acceptable or even think it was appropriate."

Summer 2008: Shannon, Sabin and another female employee attended an Advanced Criminal Law Seminar in San Antonio. "Joe and I arrive at the hotel to check in. He tells the clerk in some so-called joking fashion that (name redacted) and I are ladies of the evening and could she put our room on the same floor as his. ... He asked me what I drink ... so he can buy some and I can go back to his room for a while."

Nov. 6, 2008: "I am in (name redacted)'s office talking about a case and Joe comes up from behind and grabs me around my waist like he is hugging me. (Name redacted) witnesses this. She cannot believe what he just did."

Dec. 1, 2008: "Joe makes a comment about how good my breasts look in my sweater."

Jan. 8, 2009: "I am speaking to Joe about a family law question. A friend of mine is getting divorced and I am asking about the judge and custody issues. Joe gets on his computer and uses the (illegible) program to look up the info. I am looking over his shoulder and he says, "You're going to get yourself f----d if your [sic] not careful."

Feb. 13, 2009: "I fly to Florida" for a class. "I am at the airport and Joe calls me to talk. (Name redacted) tells me later that she is in her office when he calls and she hears him speaking to me. I don't really want to go back. Florida has been a nice break from all the nauseating sexual harassment."

March 9, 2009: A few days after a confrontation with Shannon over a cancelled meeting, Sabin writes: "He did not speak to me at all. Then, left work early to go (illegible) at 4:30; he walked right by my office and said nothing. He then went by (name redacted)'s office and said, 'See you tomorrow.' I knew that this was going to continue if I didn't address the issue. I wanted to come to work and do my job, not be miserable and uncomfortable."

March 26, 2009: "I spoke with Joe. ... I told him that I knew things were not the same and I was concerned. We resolved the issue and over the next few weeks, the issue seemed to be behind us."

April 13, 2009: Joe came in and told me he had a dream about me and that we were somewhere like a locker room or swimming pool dressing room and that he followed me in and I took off my shirt and showed him my breasts and that one breast had two nipples. ... A few minutes later, he said, 'You don't have two nipples on one breast, do you?' "

April 14, 2009: "Today, sitting in (name redacted)'s office, Joe came up from behind me and grabbed and petted my hair. He then leaned down and smelled it. (Name redacted) witnessed this."

May 30, 2011: Tonya spoke to me about attendance -- said Joe had asked her to monitor my attendance."

Undated: "Others in the unit are aware of his behavior and have seen his behavior, but I totally believe they would lie because they would be scared to loose [sic] their job. ... The last comments of an inappropriate nature were in December 2011 and January 2012."

March 12, 2012: "I asked about the sexual harassment policy. Ann Diamond (illegible) me a copy and her and Marvin Collins met with me that afternoon, at which time I told them I had been sexually harassed by Joe Shannon."

April 2012: "I then mentioned the sexual harassment issues to Betty Arvin and Sheila Wynn. I only mention a few incidents, like when Joe would come into my office, and I always keep candy in my office (ask anyone). He would take the candy wrappers, crumple them up and try to make a shot down my shirt, where there would be cleavage. He did this often."

Undated: "I am seriously concerned the effect this complaint will have on my job, raises, peace of mind and future potential within the office, solely because I have spoken up. Obviously, I have not been able to write down every single action (inappropriate) that has happened, but I have tried to write down the major ones -- any touching and most others not included are inappropriate verbal comments about my body parts.

"I have asked repeatedly to do my job free of harassment and retaliation. That is all I want."

May 23, 2012: Sabin files a "charge of discrimination" with the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission: "Beginning even before 2011, I was sexually harassed by Joe Shannon, District Attorney, in forms of unwelcomed sexual comments, inappropriate physical contact, and propositions for a sexual relationship."