No joke

County Commissioner Ken Mayfield isn't laughing anymore about sexual harassment charges

According to First Assistant District Attorney Norm Kinne, that direct power over the court reporter in question was part of the reason the complainant did not come forward until the last week in October.

She did so at approximately the same time that a 38-year-old assistant district attorney assigned to the juvenile sex crimes division came forward to her supervisor with an identical complaint.

According to several sources in the district attorney's office, about three weeks after Mayfield demonstrated his client's "innocence" for the court reporter, he did it again for the prosecutor. This time, the demonstration took place in the public hallway of the Crowley criminal courts building, in front of a witness.

The prosecutor, a single mother with a teenage daughter, attended night law school while working full-time as a retail buyer. She was at first stunned by--and later scared of--Mayfield's political clout, not only before judges but also over the district attorney's office itself, sources say.

"She's of that generation that would be terrified about losing her job," explains a defense attorney who has tried several child-indecency cases against the prosecutor-victim.

Of course, as a prosecutor in child-abuse cases, part of her job is to convince witnesses to testify in difficult and dangerous situations. "I think even though she's an ADA, she was confused about what to do," says Kinne. "I think she discussed it with her family and friends at length and finally decided to come forward."

Because one of the complainants was with the district attorney's office, the case has been referred to Rockwall County District Attorney Ray Sumrow. According to Kinne and others in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, the case is expected to be presented to a Rockwall County grand jury within the next week.

"From what I hear, the prevailing thought is to present it as a public lewdness complaint," says one Dallas County prosecutor. (Public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor.)

For his part, Mayfield is considerably more circumspect than he was a week ago and is in the process of hiring counsel. "I don't have any comment at this time," says Mayfield about the underlying incidents, although he adds that he will have comment "at the appropriate time.

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