Collin County DA holds press conference on lawsuitdfwnewsa | November 16, 2022 | 0 | Wylie News
Collin County Criminal District Attorney Greg Willis struck a defiant tone in his response to an Oct. 31 lawsuit that alleges he sexually harassed employees.
In his Wednesday, Nov. 16, news conference in the jury room at the Collin County Courthouse, Willis denied the claims made by current and former employees in the 75-page lawsuit.
“These accusations are false,” Willis said. “The things they allege simply did not happen. The truth is that the citizens of Collin County deserve better.”
The suit also names First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye, County Judge Chris Hill and County Commissioners Darrell Hale, Susan Fletcher, Cheryl Williams and Duncan Webb as defendants.
The lawsuit was filed last month by Chief Investigator Kim Pickrell, Deputy Chief Investigator Keith Henslee, former prosecutor Fallon LaFleur, prosecutor Vykim Le, former receptionist Jane Doe 1, and former communications director Jane Doe 2.
According to the lawsuit, “Defendant Willis’ created a highly toxic workplace by targeting female employees to try to flirt with or to direct outright sexual advances,” the lawsuit said. “He marginalized those who declined, which forced many of them to leave their positions, a pattern that substantially contributed to a conspicuously high turnover rate.”
It also alleges that Wirskye told female prosecutors to “get wet and stay wet” in workplace training sessions and shared his motto of “hook up, not down” for how prosecutors should make connections at conferences.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that Wirskye’s office is run like “a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the county’s attorneys, investigators and staff.”
In reports by the county’s human resources department, there was a perception that Willis was “untouchable” and that “the power and authority wielded by the district attorney is formidable.”
It is also alleged that Willis repeatedly gave female employees unwelcome “full frontal body hugs while pressing their breasts into his chest, rubbing their lower backs with his hands and moaning.”
During his news conference, Willis played the audio recording of one such encounter with Fallon LaFleur, one of the plaintiffs. In the clip, LaFleur asks permission to hug Willis, which he consented to.
“What she said in this lawsuit did not happen,” Willis said. “It is a lie; it is false and now everyone can see how false, defamatory and outrageous these claims are.”
He added that the evidence he provided should be enough to question allegations made in the lawsuit.
Another one of the plaintiffs, Jane Doe 1, alleged Willis “made unwanted comments about Jane Doe 1’s appearance” and “gave full frontal hugs while moaning.”
At a Texas County and District Attorney’s Office Conference in Galveston, Willis allegedly invited Jane Doe 1 up to his hotel room multiple times, which Jane Doe 1 refused.
During the news conference, Willis shared hand-written notes to him from three of the plaintiffs: LaFleur, VyKim Le and Jane Doe 1.
Willis said the notes paint a contrary picture to what is alleged by the three women in the lawsuit.
“As you can see, the truth and factually recorded evidence show that the Plaintiff LaFleur lied in her lawsuit,” Willis said. “Next, the truth and factual written evidence shows that the Plaintiff Le hitched her wagon to Plaintiff LaFleur with the same lies. Finally, the truth and factual written evidence I have provided today shows that Jane Doe 1 is telling a completely different story in the lawsuit than in her own words at the time.”
Willis did not offer any evidence or response to claims made by Henslee or Pickrell in the suit.
He also called on the plaintiffs to “stop wasting taxpayer money” and said that “my wife and I deserve an apology.”
“I can’t imagine what would motivate someone to file false, copycat allegations in court,” Willis said. “Perhaps they are seeking a financial windfall, perhaps they just want to keep their jobs, perhaps this politically motivated lawsuit serves both purposes. Only the plaintiffs know why they would make false allegations and try to ruin my family’s good reputation along with the good reputations of all the other families as well.”
Willis’ attorney, Rogge Dunn, also released a statement echoing the sentiments of his client.
“Today, District Attorney Willis revealed only a small sampling of the compelling mountain of evidence proving the plaintiffs’ claims are false and completely trumped up. In 35 years of handling employment lawsuits this is one of the most frivolous lawsuits I’ve ever seen.”
As part of his evidence, he has released a website with documents he revealed during the news conference. It can be accessed by visiting collincountytruthfiles.com.