Tarrant district attorney "vigorously" denies harassment claim

Posted Friday, Jan. 25, 2013  Print Reprints

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District Attorney Joe Shannon issued the following statement Friday after his office released documents related to a sexual harassment claim by a former employee, which was settled for $375,000 in September.

An objective review of the documents will clearly demonstrate what I have said all along-- there are two sides to this controversy. The claims have been vigorously denied and disputed. I did not agree to the payment of any money.

The first time a complaint was brought to my attention was in the spring of 2012 and on the heels of some job reassignments. It came as a complete surprise. I personally requested that the Tarrant County Human Resources Department conduct a prompt and thorough investigation.

Tarrant County asked if I would object to the county being represented in the matter by outside counsel. I immediately agreed. I, along with many others in the District Attorney's Office, fully cooperated with the investigation and many were interviewed. There were serious disagreements over what had allegedly occurred almost four years ago before I became District Attorney. It has always been denied that anyone intended to or did harass or retaliate against anyone else.

In an effort to resolve the dispute, mediation was conducted. A No-Fault Settlement Agreement was reached between the county and the complainant.

I realize that the county viewed the settlement from a business viewpoint. That is its prerogative and I respect its right to this view, even though I disagreed. However, some who want to believe the worst will view the payment of any sum as an admission of wrongdoing. The No-Fault Settlement Agreement states that all parties agreed that no such inference should be made nor was it intended by the parties.

All members of the District Attorney's Office and all county personnel have scrupulously obeyed all state and federal employment laws including all those mentioned in No-Fault Settlement Agreement and the Public Information Act. In view of the terms of the agreement not to disparage anyone, I am not at liberty to address specific allegations.