Collin County DA Greg Willis denies sexual harassment allegations
Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis on Wednesday responded to allegations of sexual harassment against him. He described them as an “unfair attack.”
And he said he has evidence to disprove them.
“This lawsuit is full of false, defamatory, and outrageous claims,” Willis said.
Willis spoke at a press conference at the Collin County courthouse on Wednesday with his wife and several female staffers from his office by his side. A lawsuit filed in federal court on Oct. 31 alleges that Willis treats "many female employees as objects that, without their consent, must gratify his sexual impulses and personal vanity."
Willis said he has written and recorded evidence that disprove the allegations in the lawsuit. He shared excerpts from handwritten notes from plaintiffs that praised him and thanked him for being a great boss. He also played a portion of an audio recording from an exit interview with plaintiff Fallon LaFleur.
LaFleur says in the lawsuit that Willis gave her an unwanted hug, during which he moaned and gratified himself while her arms were stiff by her side. Willis played an audio recording from LaFleur’s exit interview, where she can be heard asking Willis for a hug.
“You just heard the recording. Did you hear me moan? Did you hear me make a noise of any kind?” Willis said.
Jeffrey Simon, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said the notes and the recording bolster his clients’ claims — the lawsuit alleges that Willis demanded “incessant gratitude” and “effusive praise” from his employees. He also said the recording of LaFleur was taken without her knowledge or permission.
“The fact that Mr. Willis appears to have tried to secretly set her up in the event she later exposed his behavior is again entirely consistent with the conduct alleged against him,” Simon said.
The suit also claims that Willis’ assistant district attorney Bill Wirskye "runs the office as a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the County’s attorneys, investigators and staff." It also names Collin County Judge Chris Hill and the Collin County commissioners as defendants, claiming the commissioners court knew about the misconduct in the DA's office for "years" but refused to take action or investigate.
Kim Pickrell, the first plaintiff listed in the suit, has worked in the DA's office since 2006 and became chief investigator in 2016. She alleges in the suit that Willis would frequently "give her full frontal body hugs while pressing her breasts into his chest, rubbing her lower back with his hands and moaning."
Willis first became DA in 2011 and was recently reelected for another term.
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Caroline Love is a Report For Americacorps member for KERA News.
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