Official Calls on Tarrant DA to Resign Over Sex Scandal

Joe Shannon says he has no intention of quitting

By Scott Gordon and Ben Russell
|  Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013  |  Updated 6:05 PM CDT
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Official Calls on Tarrant DA to Resign Over Sex Scandal

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Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright on Tuesday called on District Attorney Joe Shannon to resign over a sexual harassment scandal.

"As a fellow Republican elected official, I take no joy in this," Wright said in a statement. "In fact, it pains me to do it, but I believe it is the right thing to do."

On Friday, the county released documents in a sexual harassment complaint brought by former assistant district attorney Sabrina Sabin. She claimed Shannon touched her inappropriately, constantly commented on her breasts and harassed her in other ways over a period of about four years.

Documents

Tarrant County commissioners agreed to settle the complaint in September for $375,000. Shannon said he did not agree to the payment and denied the allegations.

The county also paid legal fees and hired a human resources company to investigate the complaint, bringing the total cost of the settlement to more than $500,000.

"To suggest that this leaves the district attorney and his office in a bad light would be a gross understatement," Wright said. "The optics (how this is seen by the average voter) are terrible:  the top law enforcement official in the county embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that costs county taxpayers a half million dollars. Politically, the optics could scarcely get much worse."

In a statement, Shannon said he has no intention of resigning.

"The Tarrant County District Attorney's office is widely regarded as the best in the state," he said.

The statement did not directly address the sexual harassment accusations. Shannon has said he signed a confidentiality agreement that does not allow him to comment on specifics.

Wright said he cannot judge whether the allegations are true but added the settlement, "leaves the matter in a perpetual state of he said/she said."

"Joe Shannon should step down as Tarrant County District Attorney, and he should do so immediately," Wright said.

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