Female constable accused of sexual harassment
Constable said allegations come at suspicious time
James Gist's law enforcement career spans nearly 30 years. But he said his most recent post, at the Galveston County Constable's Office was unlike any other.
"Humiliation, just plain and simple, it was embarrassing," Gist said.
He said his boss, Precinct 7 Constable Pam Matranga, sexually harassed him for months, and the allegations, he acknowledged, are shocking.
"She walked up behind me and pulls her shirt over my head and kinda held me in a head lock under her shirt," Gist said.
He said among other things, she also grabbed her breasts and told him to hold them, pretended to perform a lap dance on him and asked to perform other sexual acts on him.
"I didn't reciprocate in any way and, if anything, I backed away," he said.
Gist said he hid a camera on his desk to catch his boss in the act. He said she found it, deleted the evidence and started to retaliate.
"She referred it to the District Attorney's office for the filing of criminal charges," said Gist.
He said she demoted him from sergeant to deputy and then forced him 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 allegations. In a statement to Local 2 she said:
"I never sexually harassed anyone. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. I have never tampered with evidence in my whole nineteen years with the county."
She also said Gist is suing for sexual harassment because she wouldn't change an employment document in his favor. Matranga also said she finds it suspicious that Gist is bringing his lawsuit just weeks before an election. Nixon said he and his client brought the lawsuit as soon as they could, according to the law.
Gist said people may be skeptical about his claims because he is a man, but he wants his day in court.
"The reality is it can happen to men as well as it can happen to women," he said.