Firing of deputy accused of inappropriate communication with Deputy Goforth's mistress upheld

Civil Service Commission upholds termination of Jason Goodrich

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - The decision to terminate a Harris County deputy for having some sort of involvement with the mistress of Deputy Darren Goforth was upheld Thursday.

Deputy Jason Goodrich was fired for "inappropriate communications" with the woman, the Harris County Sheriff's Office confirmed in July. Goodrich appealed the decision but Thursday, the Civil Service Commission upheld the termination.

Goodrich was a two-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, formerly assigned to the Patrol Bureau. He worked with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office for three years before coming to Harris County.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office released a statement in July that read, in part: "An internal affairs investigation determined that while assigned to the Patrol Bureau, Goodrich engaged in inappropriate communications with two witnesses in incidents he responded to. One of the witnesses was involved in the Capital Murder investigation of Deputy Darren Goforth."  

Channel 2 Investigates learned that Internal Affairs investigators found a series of inappropriate, sexually oriented, text messages on Goodrich's phone. One series of text messages were sent to the woman connected to the Goforth case, another series of text messages was to a female victim in an unrelated home burglary case, the source said.

The Harris County Sheriffs Office did not find evidence that Goddrich had sexual contact with either woman.

Officials said Goodrich's actions were found to be inconsistent with department policy and the Sheriff’s Office core values.

Deputy Marc De Leon was also fired for having a relationship with the woman while on the job. De Leon's termination has no connection to the Goforth death investigation.

Craig Clopton, an investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, was as well for having a relationship with the woman, during the Goforth murder investigation.

As Channel 2 investigates reported, the woman was also in a relationship with Goforth.

Goforth was allegedly shot and killed by Shannon Miles in August 2015.

Miles' attorney on filed a motion to stop the expedited transfer of Miles to a state mental hospital, just days after Miles was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

Hickman said he does not believe his department has a pervasive problem, but the Sheriff's Office did have to draft a formal policy prohibiting deputies from having relationships with people connected to criminal cases. Hickman admits the policy was a direct result of these latest debacles.

An investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Office was also terminated for having a relationship with the woman during the murder investigation.  A panel decided to terminate Sgt. Craig Clopton after he admitted having "consensual sexual conduct" with the woman during his murder investigation.

Hickman released a statement at the time that read, in part," Sgt. Clopton's actions were unethical and inexcusable.  I remain committed to the first tenet of the Sheriff's Office Core Values: to merit and maintain the public's trust." 

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