Ex-prosecutor: Tarrant DA would 'constantly make comments about my breasts'

Posted Friday, Jan. 25, 2013  Print Reprints
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Documents released Friday by Tarrant County included the personal journal of Sabrina Sabin, a former prosecutor who in September settled sexual harassment claim against District Attorney Joe Shannon.

Sabrina's journal, obtained Friday through open records requests by the Star-Telegram and other media outlets, explicitly describes an alleged pattern of sexual harassment by Shannon that began in 2008 and lasted until early in 2012.

“Joe would constantly make comments about my breasts and and tell me he would like to see them, touch them,” said one entry. “He would say things like, ‘If you ever decide to surprise me and show them to me, no one has to know.’

“What the hell was I supposed to say to that,” wrote Sabin, 44. “I knew that if I said anything or made an issue out of being sexually harassed, that I would possible loose [sic] my job or that he would make my life miserable. I just kept quite [sic] and continued to focus on doing my job well.”

During another meeting in Shannon’s office, Sabin said he was looking over his shoulder at his computer screen.

“He said, ‘You’re going to get yourself f----d if your [sic] not careful,’” Sabin wrote. “I didn’t know what to say. Things are never going to change. This is never going to get better until he is gone.”

“An objective review of the documents will clearly demonstrate what I have said all along—there are two sides to every story,” Shannon said Friday in a statement. “The claims have been vigorously denied and disputed.”

Shannon, who had headed the economic crimes unit since 1999, was appointed district attorney by Gov. Rick Perry in 2009, after the death of sitting District Attorney Tim Curry.

Other documents also reflect that Sabin had used Shannon as a reference while obtaining a position in the district attorney’s office.

Sabin was a 2004 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University Law School, where Shannon also taught. Emails written by Sabin’s supervisors, also released Friday, reflect their concerns about her work habits in April 2012, and suspicions that Sabin was taking drugs.

Shannon said Sabin’s sexual harassment complaint, first raised in March 2012, “came as a complete surprise.” He said he disagreed with the $375,000 settlement with Sabin that was reached last September.

“I realize the county viewed the settlement from a business viewpoint,” Shannon said. “However, some who want to believe the worst will view the payment of any sum as an admission of wrongdoing. The [settlement] states that all parties agreed that no such inference should be made, nor was it intended by the parties.”

In an interview on Friday, Sabin, married and the mother of two college-age children, said she stood by what she wrote in her journal “one hundred percent.”

“I would take a lie detector test,” she said. “It’s a hundred percent accurate. I would never back down from anything I said because it’s true.”

She said criticism of her work habits did not begin until after she filed her complaint.

“I guess I would find it disturbing and confusing that they would make derogatory remarks about my performance when everything until that point in my evaluations would reflect nothing but a stellar employee,” she said.

Routinely strong job evaluations, all of them performed before she filed her complaint, were among the documents released on Friday.