Six individuals who currently work or have worked in the Collin County District Attorney’s office filed a federal civil suit Monday, alleging that they were sexually harassed, discriminated against because of their gender, and faced retaliation after reporting the allegations about their boss and his top lieutenant.
The suit names Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, his first assistant Bill Wirskye, Collin County Judge Chris Hill, and county commissioners Susan Fletcher, Darrell Hale, Cheryl Williams, and Duncan Webb. The suit was filed by the district attorney’s chief investigator, Kim Pickrell; deputy chief investigator Keith Henslee; former misdemeanor prosecutor Fallon LaFleur; prosecutor VyKim Le; and two plaintiffs identified as Jane Doe.
The suit alleges that Willis sexually harassed female employees then retaliated against them. It says he repeatedly made sexual comments and inappropriately touched them. The lawsuit also alleges that Willis propositioned the women for sex during work trips and during regular closed-door meetings. It also claims that Wirskye routinely hazed female employees.
Le said that Willis had touched her inappropriately on at least two occasions, and the two unnamed plaintiffs recounted instances of unwanted touching and propositioning. After Pickrell and Henslee went to Wirskye with their concerns, the lawsuit alleges he retaliated by complaining about their performance.
Wirskye is also accused of referring to groups of prosecutors profanely, and called female prosecutors “bitches, whores, and sluts.” Henslee, Le, and LaFleur all recounted instances where Wirskye was allegedly retaliatory or crass.
The county commissioners were included because they “have known of this misconduct for years but have continued to enable it by refusing to take remedial action or even conduct a reasonable investigation.” A spokesperson for the county said it would not comment on pending litigation.
In addition to filing the lawsuit, the plaintiffs say they have also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission.
A copy of the lawsuit is embedded in the story. This case is obviously a potential blockbuster on its own, but I am specifically interested in it because Greg Willis is a good buddy of Ken Paxton’s and one reason why Paxton is being pursued by special prosecutors in his neverending Servergy fraud case, as Willis (properly!) recused himself at the beginning. Maybe any Collin County DA would have had to do the same – politics is a small world, after all, and politicians like to avoid hot potatoes when they can – but in another world maybe that doesn’t happen, and if so then the years-long saga of how the special prosecutors would or would not be paid would never have happened. Anyway, I’ll be keeping an eye on this. The DMN, whose story I was unable to read as I drafted this, has more.