Dallas County DA Hints at Mental Health Relapse

     DALLAS (CN) – Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is facing renewed calls for her resignation after her office hinted Friday that she has suffered a mental health “relapse.”
     Hawk disappeared from work for two months last summer, after taking office in January 2015. She later disclosed she was seeking treatment for a “serious episode of depression” and described her absence as a “summer break.”
     A former prosecutor that Hawk fired, Cindy Stormer, sued last October, seeking Hawk’s ouster from office.
     Stormer cited Hawk’s absence, several controversial firings of longtime staffers and Hawk’s allegedly erratic and paranoid behavior indicating a “complete break with reality.” A judge tossed the lawsuit in January.
     In a vague press release, Hawk’s office said Friday that “relapse is common” for the 16 million people in the United States suffering from major depressive disorder.
     The press release does not explicitly state Hawk is on leave for mental health treatment, but hints that she “is taking the necessary steps so that she can continue to serve the community.”
     “She is being proactive with her mental health plan and is determined to stay whole and healthy to insure that Dallas County is safe and thriving,” her office said. “The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office will continue to operate with a commitment to justice and public safety.”
     Hawk’s office clarified those comments Friday evening, saying Hawk “voluntarily sought treatment” at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, a specialty psychiatric hospital. The updated statement said her office “is extremely proud of her courage.”
     Hawk’s attorney in the ouster suit, Douglas Alexander with Alexander Dubose in Austin, said after the dismissal that his client should be congratulated for seeking help for her depression instead of being stigmatized and facing ouster. He said President Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression and was still a great leader.
     Stormer alleged that Hawk’s former second-in-command Bill Wirskye was fired after being accused of breaking into Hawk’s home and stealing a “blow job shot” photograph. He said Hawk’s paranoia paralyzed the office, according an affidavit filed in the case.
     “Her tone was both bizarre and aggressive,” Wirskye’s affidavit stated. “When I asked her what she was talking about, she accused me of calling her mother and harassing her, breaking into her parent’s garage, and breaking into her house and stealing a photo of her. (These accusations were all untrue.) It was apparent to me that Ms. Hawk was completely delusional and detached from reality.”
     Wirskye said he was fired in March 2015 and that upon leaving the courthouse, he told Hawk’s political adviser that she needed to be placed “immediately” in in-patient treatment.
     On Friday, Dallas criminal defense attorney Peter Schulte tweeted, “If DA Susan Hawk has truly relapsed and is back in treatment, it’s time for her to resign. I could understand once. Not twice. Wish her well.”
     Attorney Tom Nowak also called for Hawk’s resignation.
     “It’s one thing when you have an issue that affects you for a certain time, but when it’s a continual issue and you’re in a position of public trust, then you have to do what’s right for the county,” Nowak told the Dallas Morning News.

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