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.