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Sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Collin County DA, others reaches settlement

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Latest

A sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed in response to the workplace culture inside the Collin County District Attorney’s Office reached a tentative settlement in principle, according to March 9 court filings.

The 75-page lawsuit was filed Oct. 31, 2022, in the Texas Northern District Court in Sherman and alleged that Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis flirted with, inappropriately touched and made unwanted sexual advances toward female employees. It also claimed that First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye targeted women and created a toxic workplace environment.

Greg Willis

County Judge Chris Hill and the commissioners court — Darrell Hale, Susan Fletcher, Cheryl Williams and Duncan Webb — were named for knowing about the conduct and covering it up.

The filing was made by six current and former employees in the DA’s office and sought unspecified damages.

After a lengthy mediation period last month, a tentative settlement agreement was reached. As of presstime, the details of the settlement agreement are not specified and will be finalized at a later date, court filings show. 

County spokesperson Tim Wyatt confirmed no settlement has been signed and that any payment would come from the county’s insurance company. 

Allegations in the lawsuit stated that Willis “marginalized those who declined [his advances]” that led to “a conspicuously high turnover rate” in his office. He is also accused of having the “power to destroy careers in criminal law enforcement and to inflict penal reprisal.”

Wirskye was accused of creating “a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the county’s attorneys, investigators and staff.”

County commissioners and Hill are alleged to have “known of this misconduct for years but have continued to enable it by refusing to take remedial action.” 

At a November news conference, Willis denied the allegations raised by the suit, referring to some of the claims as “false, defamatory and outrageous.” Wirskye has previously referred to claims made by the plaintiffs as ““politically motivated and politically timed.”

In addition to complaints made in the federal civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs also filed claims with the Texas Workforce Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As of presstime, the status of those claims is unknown.

Willis ran unopposed during the November 2022, after first assuming office in 2011. His wife, Jill Willis, is a state district judge in Collin County who also ran unopposed in the most recent election.

Wirskye is an appointed official by Willis. Both Hill and Webb also won re-election after facing Democratic challengers in November.

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