The deputies claim their supervisor, drunk off shots of liquor and wearing nothing but boxer shorts, kissed and groped them during undercover bachelor party stings, all under the guise of legitimate police work.
HOUSTON (CN) — Two Texas deputies claim in a federal lawsuit they were fondled and kissed by their drunk supervisor during bachelor party prostitution stings, and another deputy says she was ordered to let herself be sexually assaulted by a masseuse while working undercover.
The Human Trafficking Unit of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office does sting operations in which officers pose as johns, then arrest prostitutes after they offer sex. The unit’s goal is to encourage the sex workers to identify their pimps.
But its leader, Assistant Chief Chris Gore, decided to change things up, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Houston federal court by four women — three current and former deputies and a fired civilian staffer.
With the approval of his boss, Constable Alan Rosen, Gore started “’bachelor party’ stings” in which undercover male and female deputies gathered in hotel rooms, the women posing as prostitutes, with the goal of making real sex workers feel comfortable joining the parties, then arresting them after they offered sex for cash, according to the suit.
It says Gore chose his sting partners not based on their experience working undercover: “Rather, Chief Gore chose his partners based on his personal taste in women – young, attractive, and Latina.”
Deputy Liz Gomez alleges Gore had her shop for skimpy outfits for the parties and text him photos of her in them. “Gore would relay the message ‘that’s not slutty enough,'” the complaint states.
Though Rosen has an official policy undercover officers can only drink one alcoholic beverage per hour, and no more than two during an investigation, he approved of debauchery for the fake bachelor parties, the plaintiffs claim.
Gore drank lots of shots of liquor and pressured Gomez to do the same, telling her to “loosen up and have a good time,” Gomez says.
Then, Gomez claims, Gore would lie down on top of her wearing nothing but boxer shorts, fully aroused, and fondle her breasts while kissing and licking her.
“Each time Chief Gore molested Liz Gomez during these county-sanctioned operations, she would be fighting back the urge to break down in tears,” the complaint states.
Gore and Lieutenant Shane Rigdon had surveillance cameras placed in the rooms, the suit says, but Gore instructed the surveillance teams to not include any of the “party scenes” in footage provided to prosecutors. And the day after the parties, Rigdon would delete all the footage he found lacked evidentiary value.
The lawsuit names Harris County, Rosen, Gore and Rigdon as defendants.
Gomez says she asked to be removed from the unit and Gore replaced her with Marissa Sanchez.
Sanchez says she was a rookie deputy with no experience working undercover. Dressed in revealing clothing in a hotel room before her first sting, she adds, her only training was her male superiors instructing her to “show us what you got” and give one of them a lap dance.
“As the first suspects arrived and the sting began, Chief Gore immediately took off Sanchez’s bra without warning and for no real reason. He then threw her bra across the room,” the complaint states.
According to Sanchez, that became a routine move for Gore, along with him grinding on and kissing her. She finally built up the courage to complain to Rosen, she says, but Rosen’s chief of staff Erica Davis met with her instead of Rosen.
“After disclosing the horror she was forced to go through at the behest of her commanding officer, Sanchez was handed her transfer papers out of the unit to less prestigious duties,” the complaint states.
Deputy Felecia McKinney says she too was forced to expose herself during the bachelor party stings, but her allegations center on an incident at a massage parlor.
To catch a masseuse who had sexually assaulted one of his staff, Rosen, through Gore, ordered McKinney to go in undercover for an appointment with the rapist, the complaint states.
McKinney says she questioned why she should have to wait to be assaulted as there was already enough evidence to arrest the suspect.
Gore told her, “’The boss says we have to do this op.’ ‘The boss’ refers to Alan Rosen,’” according to the complaint.
“McKinney was sent in to disrobe with a known rapist, like a lamb to the slaughter, and allow him to assault her. Only after the assault was she ordered to give the ‘bust’ signal so that an arrest could be made,” the suit alleges.
The fourth plaintiff, Jacquelyn Aluotto, says Rosen hired her in 2019 to work with human trafficking victims, to steer them to programs to help them get out of the sex trade and convince them to testify against their pimps.
Aluotto says she soon realized the Human Trafficking Unit, under Gore, was putting little effort into arresting pimps.
“Instead, nearly all of the unit’s energy went into the planning of the aforementioned ‘bachelor party’ stings at Gore’s pleasure,” the lawsuit states.
Aluotto claims she confronted Rosen about Gore in January 2020 and got nowhere: “Rosen responded that he would speak with him but that Chief Gore could be ‘trusted.’ Nonetheless, the operations continued with Constable Alan Rosen’s blessing.”
Advised of Gore’s parties by Aluotto, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office refused to investigate, Aluotto says, and in fall 2020 referred the matter to the internal affairs division of Rosen’s constable office. The DA’s Office said it would not address these allegations until it has reviewed the lawsuit.
Aluotto says she laid it all out in a three-hour interview with internal affairs, describing how Gore was molesting subordinates and falsifying documents—the suit alleges he “instructed all deputies not to include his name when listing those present in their offense reports” about arrests made during the parties.
“Ms. Aluotto disclosed how the young female deputies suffered emotional breakdowns from their molestation, and how they were quietly moved to less prestigious duties when they complained,” the complaint continues.
Allutto says she was fired the next day.
The four women want punitive damages for civil rights claims of sexual harassment, sexual battery and retaliation. They claim the county, through Rosen, had a policy of subjecting young, inexperienced and untrained deputies to traumatic bachelor party stings.
They are represented by Brock and Cordt Akers of the Akers Firm and William Ogden and Mark Bankston of Farrar and Ball, all of Houston.
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Rosen denied the accusations. “I have a zero-tolerance stance against sexual assault and sexual harassment and would never allow a hostile work environment as alleged. This lawsuit is an effort to impugn the good reputation of the hard-working men and women of the Precinct One Constable’s Office. I believe our system of due process works and that justice and truth will prevail as facts in this case come to light,” he said in a statement.
The lawsuit comes after one of Rosen’s sergeants killed himself Wednesday, following his confession to law enforcement he had sexually abused children. Two days later, Rosen fired two women on his staff—a dispatcher and a deputy—and they were arrested and charged with involvement in the abuse.