Tarrant County Republican leaders on Friday called on Justice of the Peace Russ Casey to drop his reelection campaign because of past allegations of sexual harassment.
"I wish he would resign right now," said Rich DeOtte, vice chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party. "What Russ Casey did in office, in public buildings, is despicable.
Casey, who has served as justice of the peace for 10 years, has been mired in a sexual harassment case.
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In a 2015 federal lawsuit, a court clerk claimed Casey subjected her to a "pattern of sexual harassment and physical abuse that lasted five years."
She claimed he forced her to perform sexual acts sometimes "while he was wearing his judicial robe."
She says she wanted to stop, but he refused to take no for an answer.
Casey settled the lawsuit, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The woman still works for Tarrant County but not in Casey's office.
Separate from the lawsuit, Casey was publicly reprimanded by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. The reprimand was upheld on appeal.
In a short telephone interview, Casey declined to answer detailed questions but said, "I have proven the allegations are not true."
Casey's opponent, Bill Brandt, said character is a big issue in the race.
"The job requires character," Brandt said. "Character in our public servants is very important. The people are going to have to make a decision whether or not he has the character to continue. It's their decision."
Brandt — a lawyer, pilot, and Air Force veteran — is running in the Republican primary against Casey and Lenny Lopez, who declined an interview request.
Justices of the peace in Texas handle small claims disputes, evictions and truancy cases.