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Tarrant County DA Will Not Resign Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Tarrant County says it doesn’t have any type of completed investigation report on the sexual harassment complaint against its district attorney, despite paying more than $50,000 to a consulting company to look into the claim. The county revealed the lack of an investigative report Monday, after initially telling CBS11 the report was being withheld due to attorney client privilege.

The county released more than 100 pages of documents Friday related to the claim again Joe Shannon. They included a diary from former employee Sabrina Sabin, who wrote that Shannon harassed her verbally and sometimes physically for as long as four years. The county paid Sabin and her attorney $375,000 in September to drop her claims. Details of the claims only came out after the State Attorney General ordered the county to release them to CBS11 and other parties who requested them.

The ruling says if an adequate summary of the investigation exists, it must be released along with the statement of the accused. If there is not a summary, it says all information related to it should be released, except that which identifies victims and witnesses.

Sabin herself said Monday, she was led to believe there was a report, and expected to see it released Friday.

“Whatever lies within that report is the truth,” she said. “And the public needs to see the truth, whatever that may be; good or bad about me, good or bad about Joe Shannon or about anybody else.”

Whitney Smith Company was hired by the county, according to a contract to provide consultation “in the areas of investigation.” W.S.C told CBS 11 Monday that after doing interviews with people involved, notes were put in written form and handed over to the county. No notes similar to that description were included in the county’s released information.

No county commissioners returned calls from CBS11 Monday to ask why they fought the release of details of the investigation. County Judge Glen Whitely referred to an earlier statement that commenting could lead to the spending of more taxpayer money.
Shannon made it clear Monday he has no intention of stepping down from his post.

“This office is widely recognized as the best prosecutor’s office in the state and Mr. Shannon is going to continue to lead this operation,” said Melody McDonald, the public information officer for the DA’s office. “He has no plans to resign.”

Some experts don’t think the scandal will have any affect at all on Shannon’s job.

“The taxpayers don’t care,” said UTA Political Science Professor Allan Saxe. “They don’t care. They don’t know, number one and they don’t care.”

Saxe says it’s almost impossible to make voters pay attention to county politics, even with an expensive sexual harassment case.

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