Fort Worth

Former House candidate gets apology from opponent’s campaign worker, who had reported him to CPS

Geren leads in House District 99

Engagement Editor Shelley Kofler interviews State Rep. Charlie Geren, a Republican candidate running for re-election in House District 99.
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Engagement Editor Shelley Kofler interviews State Rep. Charlie Geren, a Republican candidate running for re-election in House District 99.

The third time won’t be a charm for Bo French.

The Fort Worth private equity investor who unsuccessfully ran for the Texas House twice said he doesn’t plan to make a third bid for the same office next year.

“There’s no way,” he said Monday. “I can’t do that to my family.”

French, who didn’t rule out future bids for office, challenged state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, for House District 99 in 2018 and 2016 and lost both primary elections.

The 2018 GOP primary battle for the post was costly for French, not just in election expenses but legal ones as well.

He and his wife, Sheridan, filed a lawsuit in in 2017 against a Geren campaign worker, alleging that false accusations of child abuse were made against him during the 2016 primary election campaign.

The lawsuit, which cost the French family about $150,000, named David T. Sorensen as a “professional political operative” who worked on behalf of Geren during that campaign.

It claimed Sorensen anonymously triggered a Child Protective Services investigation by making false allegations that “Bo French was abusing and neglecting his young children,” which hurt the family, their reputation and likely the political campaign, according to the lawsuit.

Geren, who has served in the Texas House since 2001, has long said he didn’t know anything about the CPS complaint until he read preliminary court filings about the case.

Fort Worth apology

French and Geren and their prominent families have long run in the same circles; Geren’s parents lived across the street from French’s grandparents.

In the end, French got an apology “not intended for public distribution or publication.”

French said he wasn’t allowed to share a copy of the document, but he could read it over the phone, as he did recently with the Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News.

In the document, Sorensen said he anonymously called CPS to report that the French family allegedly didn’t get medical attention for their son after he allegedly broke his ribs.

“I now know the report I provided to CPS was not accurate,” Sorensen’s statement said. “I misunderstood and misconstrued what I had overheard.”

Sorensen said he regretted making the report to CPS. And he said he had no reason to question that French and his wife “are anything other than caring and capable parents.”

“I apologize to the entire French family.”

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.

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