Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis has responded to a lawsuit filed in October by six current and former employees claiming he sexually harassed them by treating “many female employees as objects that, without their consent, must gratify his sexual impulses and personal vanity.”
In an interview with NBC 5
, Willis stated, “What’s in the lawsuit is a bunch of lies. It needs to be known.”
Willis and Collin County First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye, County Judge Chris Hill, and County Commissioners Susan Fletcher, Cheryl Williams, Darrell Hale and Duncan Webb are named as defendants.
The complaint also alleges that Wirskye “runs the office as a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the County’s attorneys, investigators and staff.”
The 75-page lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, states that one of the plaintiffs, former prosecutor Fallon LaFleur, resigned from her role because she was “overwhelmed” by Wirskye’s alleged abuses. LaFleur claims that as she was leaving the exit interview with Willis, he “proceeded to give her a full-frontal hug while her arms were stiff beside her body. He rubbed her lower back with his hands and pressed her breasts against him.”
The events of that exit interview have been disputed and are now also being highlighted by Willis, who has been district attorney since 2011 and ran unopposed for reelection earlier this month. On Wednesday, Willis took the unusual step of releasing what he claims is an audio recording and transcript of LaFleur’s exit interview, which may be in violation of county rules.
According to NBC 5, Willis published the exit interview audio recording, transcript and copies of handwritten notes from staffers thanking and complimenting him to Collin County Truth Files.
(The Collin County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.)
Below the headline reading “Setting the Record Straight” are options for reviewing what is claimed to be a 20-plus-minute audio file and the transcript of the exit interview, presented on the site as evidence that “clearly debunks the plaintiff’s key allegation and shows them to be completely false and fabricated.”
Below that, the website lists a pair of points from the lawsuit labeled as “Lie” followed by a rebuttal labeled “Truth.” In one of the examples provided, LaFluer’s claim that “DA Willis was ‘moaning’ aloud and ‘groping’ her while ‘gratifying himself’' is answered with “This never happened. DA Willis courteously agreed to let LaFleur give him a hug. Not only that, her allegations about how he reacted to her hug are also patently false. While giving him the hug she asked for, she enthusiastically exclaimed: ‘Ahh, you are so wonderful! Thank you so much! And I will see you around.’”
Jeff Simon, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, issued a statement to NBC 5 suggesting Willis broke county employee rules by recording the exit interview with LaFleur without her knowledge. The attorney also notes that the website is helpful to his clients, and doesn't clear Willis’ name as the DA might hope. Willis says an interview investigation has been conducted by an independent attorney hired by the county commissioners, but the results have not been released.
“While neither Ms. LaFleur nor her legal counsel has heard the audio,” the statement reads, “the fact that Mr. Willis appears to have tried to secretly set her up in the event she later exposed his behavior is again entirely consistent with the conduct alleged against him.”
Included in the many images of what the website claims are handwritten cards and letters given to Willis are a handful allegedly written by one of the plaintiffs, Vykim Le, a county prosecutor. Most of the images display redacted signatures, except for the ones with Le’s name. The site notes that these notes “prove their allegations are baseless and false.”
Simon also disputes this position in his statement. “Efforts by Mr. Willis to characterize those acknowledgments as proof of his innocence are consistent with the allegations that he remains consumed with trying to cover his tracks in the event he’s exposed,” it reads.