A federal lawsuit was filed on November 1 against the Collin County District Attorney, his first assistant and county commissioners. The plaintiffs are claiming they experienced sexual harassment, bullying and threats while working.
The lawsuit by Kim Pickrell, Keith Henslee, Fallon Lafleur, Vykim Le, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 includes 75 pages worth of claims and allegations toward District Attorney Greg Willis, First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye, County Judge Chris Hill and all four county commissioners.
11/17/2022 Update: During a press conference on November 16, Willis presented “extraordinary evidence” he claims debunks all allegations in the lawsuit. During the conference, he played an audio recording and displayed several letters from the plaintiffs that he believes clears his name from the allegations.
The audio recording played shows the plaintiff, Fallon LaFleur, asking permission to hug Willis, to which he consented. “This lawsuit is full of false, defamatory, and outrageous claims,” Willis said in an official statement. “Given the mountain of factual evidence, I call upon these plaintiffs and their lawyers to stop wasting taxpayer money, admit that this public evidence debunks their false allegations, and to drop their lawsuit.”
NBCDFW reported that the claims include harassment, gender discrimination and illegal retaliation carried out by the county’s top officials. The allegations are said to have taken place up until April of this year.
The plaintiffs also claim that he made unwanted sexual advances numerous times. The lawsuit alleges Willis “treats many female employees as objects that, without their consent, must gratify his sexual impulses and personal vanity.”
Other allegations imply that employees would face constant bullying and were repeatedly told that showing emotions in the DA officer was prohibited. The lawsuit explains that employees in the office would often enter Chief Pickrell’s office and cry because of Willis’ “erratic and abusive behavior.”
The alleged commissioners supposedly had known about the harassment for years and refused to take action to stop it. The plaintiffs expressed that they were reprimanded for going to human resources against Willis and the others. According to the suit, they also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission.
But Wirskye claims that this lawsuit was brought on by political motivation during the time of a reelection race and says that there is evidence pointing to the fact that the current and former employees had performance issues during their time in the office.
“The citizens of Collin County deserve better than these dishonest and politically motivated attacks that waste time and money. I categorically and unequivocally deny these false allegations. They did not happen,” Willis said in a statement to NBCDFW.
As of now, the lawsuit is not specifying the damages the plaintiffs will seek.