A former Texas deputy constable has won a hefty sexual harassment lawsuit against his former boss, who he alleges forced him to motorboat her.
According to Houston’s Local 2, 51-year-old James Gist told the court that 55-year-old Constable Pam Matranga once grabbed her breasts and said “Here, hold these.”
She then walked up behind him and “pulled her shirt over my head and held me kind of in a headlock with her shirt.”
Matranga defended herself by claiming that she made sexual jokes with just about every male deputy.
“If anybody was in a bad mood, like if Phil was in a bad mood, I would say, ‘Phil,’ or to anyone, ‘Do you need to go under the shirt?,’ ” she said.
Gist, a law enforcement officer for nearly 30 years, also said that Matranga gave him a lap dance and regularly made serious sexual advances from May 2011 to October 2011.
He hid a camera on his desk to try to catch Matranga “harassing” him but she found it, deleted the evidence and then punished him.
Gist was demoted from sergeant to deputy before being forced to resign.
“What they are investigating him for isn’t a crime because it’s perfectly legal for one party to record a conversation between two parties,” Gist’s attorney, Thomas Nixon said.
Matranga denied the motorboating and lap dancing in a statement to Local 2:
“I never sexually harassed anyone. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. I have never tampered with evidence in my whole 19 years with the county,” she said, adding that Gist probably sued her because she refused to promote him.
Gist pleaded for the court to take his case seriously even though he is a man.
“The reality is it can happen to men as well as it can happen to women,” he said.
But Matranga was soon dropped from the lawsuit, making the county of Galveston responsible for the damages.
The case was resolved last Friday, with the jury awarding Gist $567,000, which is $200,000 more than he was seeking.
As a male writer, I have to be honest, there’s few women I wouldn’t motorboat for a million dollars.