Man sues over sexual harassment from female constable

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 8, 2012, 2:00am


GALVESTON - Claiming he became the target of unwanted and uninvited sexual advances from a Galveston County constable, local resident James P. Gist has filed a lawsuit.

Gist alleges Galveston County Precinct 7 Constable Pam Matranga subjected him to sexual harassment from May 2011 to late October 2011, according to a lawsuit filed May 2 in Galveston County District Court.

The 11-page suit, which names Galveston County, Matranga and her office as defendants, asserts the plaintiff lost his job because he showed resistance to the actions and misconduct.

According to the original petition, Gist's ordeal began when Matranga allegedly asked his fiancee if she could perform oral sex on him.

The suit further details approximately 10 instances in which Matranga supposedly tried to seduce Gist.

Gist claims a majority of the advances occurred in the presence of colleagues, and states one incident occurred in the parking lot of a local elementary school.

Prior to his last encounter with Matranga on Oct. 26, 2011, Gist began using a recording device in an effort to record and collect evidence of the harassment.

Gist was summoned to Matranga's office five days later and informed that he "was suspended until further notice."

He insists that no explanation was given and Matranga punished him in retaliation for his refusal to submit to her advances as well as her discovery of the recording device, the suit says.

The complainant tendered his resignation on Nov. 2, 2011, in hopes of avoiding a dishonorable discharge to no avail as Matranga sent a notice to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Officer Standards and Education in Austin.

As an apparent last attempt at revenge, Matranga sought the assistance of the Galveston County District Attorney's Office in regards to Gist's recording device.

The district attorney's office sought an indictment against the plaintiff "although there is no crime found in the penal code for possessing a recording device," the suit says.

Gist claims Matranga may have deleted the contents before turning the device over to the district attorney's office.

The suit states Gist, who had no disciplinary reports to his name prior to his constructive termination, felt it was necessary to tolerate the threats, taunts and harassment because the county's economic situation at the time made it difficult to find equal employment.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by attorney Thomas P. Nixon of Houston.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia.

Case No. 12-cv-1159

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