By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
On Tuesday, February 27, Constable Mike Dupree abruptly left for vacation just hours after Dallas County commissioners ordered an outside investigation of his office after three employees said that the openly gay elected official was a little too openly gay, claiming that he came on to the younger Hispanics on his staff and touched them inappropriately. That holiday didn't do much good.
This week Dupree returned to his elected position to find that the investigation of his alleged pattern of sexual harassment has begun, while a gay deputy who had defended him to the Dallas Voice now says that his boss pressured him to speak out in his favor.
"When I was threatened with my job if I didn't back him up, I had to do what I had to do," he told the Voice, a gay weekly that has chronicled Dupree's fall from grace almost as obsessively as the Dallas Observer. McCarty was vague about why he flip-flopped on his endorsement, alluding to some sort of deal that Dupree reneged on. "The constable has been lying to me and has for some time. Basically, I caught him."
McCarty has filed a three-page affidavit with the county claiming that Dupree forced him to work in a hostile environment; at least three others have made similar claims. Right now no one is talking, and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office will not release the affidavits while the investigation into the constable's conduct is ongoing.
"All I can tell you is the truth is going to come out, and the truth is going to come out really soon," McCarty told the Observer. "It will be perfectly clear, and you won't have to ask us any questions."
The employees made their complaints after the Observer chronicled the strange story of Angel Martinez, a 20-year-old illegal immigrant whom Dupree arranged to have deported after Martinez took up with a former stripper. The 50-year-old constable admitted that he had a fling with Martinez, who was a teenager when they met, but he explained that he ended the romance to pursue—believe it or not—a father-son relationship.
"He called me papa," Dupree reminisced.
But Martinez, phoning in from a federal detention facility in West Texas, countered that the two were never romantically involved and that the constable acted out of jealousy after Martinez began dating a former stripper named Connie Jonez. Now employed as a loan officer, Jonez backed up her boyfriend's story.
To some, Dupree has been unfairly singled out—by both the press and his employees—because he's a gay man with a provocative, if not particularly relevant personal life. But McCarty says Dupree's behavior, not his sexuality, is the issue.
"His personal life is his personal life, but the problem is he doesn't know how to keep his personal life personal," McCarty says.