Galveston, TX- A Texas jury awarded a male law enforcement officer $567,000 to settle allegations that his female boss subjected him to repeated sexual harassment.
Former Galveston County Deputy Constable, James Gist, 55 sued the county after he endured repeat incidents of sexual harassment between May 2011 and October 2011. The lawsuit accused Galveston County Constable Pam Matranga of making sexual comments, asking him to touch her breasts and simulating a lap dance, according to CBS Houston.
In his lawsuit, Gist said Matranga grabbed her breasts, “motorboated” him and even once gave him a mock lap dance in the office.
Gist said in one incident she grabbed her breasts and said “her, hold these.” She also allegedly climbed on his lap on one occasion and did a mock lap dance after telling him that she performed at local strip club for “chunky chick nights.”
On another occasion, she allegedly forced him to “motor boat” him, an act where she lifted her shirt and pressed his face against her breasts. The act was popularized by Vince Vaughn after a long tirade in the film “Wedding Crashers.”
“She walked up behind me and pulls her shirt over my head and kinda held me in a head lock under her shirt,” said Gist who has served in law enforcement for 30 years. “I didn’t reciprocate in any way and, if anything, I backed away.”
Gist got so sick of the harassment that he placed a camera on his desk to catch Mantranga in the act, but alleges when she discovered the camera she erased footage and turned him in for illegal wiretapping.
In addition to being investigated for the wiretapping allegation, Gist said Mantranga demoted him from sergeant to deputy. He was eventually forced to quit because he said the behavior made him feel humiliated and embarrassed.
For her part, Mantranga denies the allegations, “I never sexually harassed anyone. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. I have never tampered with evidence in my whole nineteen years with the county,” she told, CBS Houston.
Mantranga did however admit to making off-collar jokes and comments and admitting “motor boating” other male deputies, but said she never did it to Gist. She also said the jury’ award was unfair.
The jury however unanimously sided with Gist awarding his $200,000 than he sought in the original lawsuit.
Gists attorney, Anthony Griffin applauded the settlement saying the jury did not let his gender affect their decision. “They rejected this whole notion that you get away with [sexual harassment] because you are a female,” he said.
“It was about sex, and it was about power,” Griffin told the Galveston County Daily News about the case. “The only way she could engage in such conduct is because of that badge on her blouse.”
For and more cases of female on male sexual harassment are surfacing in the media. It’s not a new issue by any means, but it more and more men find themselves on the receiving end of this inappropriate behavior. Men like women are finding they need the help of a sexual harassment attorney to help them put an end to their embarrassment and humiliation.