Collin County DA to Share Evidence He Says Refutes Sex Harassment Case Against Him

Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis is defending himself against accusations he sexually harassed staffers.

Willis has denied claims made in a 75-page complaint filed in late October on behalf of six current and former employees. Now, he’s releasing evidence that he said proves his innocence.

“What’s in that lawsuit is a bunch of lies. It needs to be known. Time to set the record straight and that’s what we’re doing,” said Willis in an exclusive interview with NBC 5.

The complaint, which is seeking unspecified damages, named Willis along with First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye, County Judge Chris Hill, and all four county commissioners. Willis first took office in 2011 and ran unopposed in 2022. Wirskye, meanwhile, joined the Collin County DA’s office in 2015.

The plaintiffs, chief investigator Kim Pickrell, deputy chief investigator Keith Henslee, former prosecutor Fallon LaFleur, prosecutor Vykim Le, former receptionist Jane Doe 1, and former communications director Jane Doe 2, claim employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

According to the complaint Willis, “treats many female employees as objects that, without their consent, must gratify his sexual impulses and personal vanity,” while Wirskye runs the office as “a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the county’s attorneys, investigators and staff.”

It said Willis repeatedly gave women unwelcomed “full frontal body hugs while pressing their breasts into his chest, rubbing their lower backs with his hands and moaning.”

One alleged instance came during an exit interview with LaFleur, a former prosecutor, in May 2021 in Willis’s office. The complaint said that during the exit interview LeFleur told Willis of the abuses by Wirskye and Wirskye’s chiefs.

The complaint said Willis acted as though he had never heard the accusations, despite an anonymous letter sent to Willis in October 2019 describing Wirskye as a bully and his conduct as “intentional, intimidating and pervasive.” It said the letter was never followed-up on or reported to human resources.

A second letter with an attached copy of the first letter was sent to Collin County Commissioners by Jane Doe 1 in December 2019 with allegations about Wirskye, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs contend that when alerted to Willis’ and Wirskye’s alleged behavior and the toxic environment it was creating, commissioners told the plaintiffs to talk with the human resources department but failed to take action to address the ongoing problem or help the affected staff members.

According to the complaint, when several plaintiffs reported Willis’ conduct to human resources, department heads advised the plaintiffs that they deemed Willis to be “untouchable” and that they therefore could take no remedial action.

At the end of the exit interview, as LeFleur was leaving Willis’s office, the complaint said Willis told LeFleur, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep your secret,” then, “took advantage of her exposure to him to grope her and gratify himself, exponentially sealing the damage to her psyche and self-image.”

Willis called the accusations lies and said his audio recording of the 20-minute exit interview proves it. He released the recording to NBC 5.

“She said that I subjected her to an unwelcomed, full-frontal hug when, in fact, the audio shows that she was the one that asked me if she could give me a hug,” said Willis. “It’s just so clearly a complete, out-and-out lie.”

Willis said he recorded the exit interview out of concern he was potentially being set up but declined to comment on why he felt that way.

Jeff Simon, an attorney for the plaintiffs, questions why LeFleur was being recorded and said county policy prohibits employees from recording conversations on county property unless all parties consent.

Willis also released dozens of notes and cards to NBC 5 that he said he received from LeFleur, Pickrell and Jane Doe 1 dating back to 2016.

“When you read these letters, not only will you see that there was not sexual harassment going on but there was a tremendous amount of gratitude for how I was treating these women,” said Willis.

Simon said the lawsuit alleges that Willis specifically demands those kinds of flattery and expressions of gratitude in order to keep your job.

Willis also provided NBC 5 with a statement signed by 11 members of the female leadership in the DA’s office in support of Willis and Wirskye. The statement is addressed to Collin County Judge Chris Hill and the four commissioners.

Willis said any complaint against Wirskye was looked into.

“Nobody was turning a blind eye,” said Willis. “I believe Bill Wirskye treats people well and just as people have lied about me I believe they’re lying about him as well.”

In a statement, Wirskye said, “This is obviously a politically motivated and politically timed lawsuit based on lies and recycled untruths by some very disgruntled and very troubled individuals.”

The plaintiffs claim they were retaliated against for reporting the behavior or declining sexual advances, claims Willis denies.

Willis, a father of two and husband to Collin County District Judge Jill Willis, said he was stunned when he read the allegations in the lawsuit.

“It really is hard to imagine the motives of people that would choose to make up lies to put them in a lawsuit, whether it’s to get money, whether it’s political, whether it’s to keep their jobs, whatever the reason, it’s wrong,” said Willis.

Simon responded, “The only motive they seek is justice.” He continued, “It’s one thing to go to the press and say they’re all a bunch of liars. It’s another to tell the court that the claimants are out-and-out liars.”

Willis said an independent attorney hired by the county commissioners conducted an interview investigation. The results have not been made public.

PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY RESPONDS

The following statement was shared with NBC 5 by Jeff Simon, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

The fact that there are statements from our clients to Mr. Willis that flatter him or thank him corroborates allegations made against him in the lawsuit. The complaint alleges that Mr. Willis demanded that our clients show incessant gratitude and effusive praise of him as a requirement of job performance. Our clients contend in the lawsuit that they greatly feared his rage and retaliation should they defy that edict and that they therefore complied. Efforts by Mr. Willis to characterize those acknowledgments as proof of his innocence are consistent with the allegations that he remains consumed with trying to cover his tracks in the event he’s exposed. 

Further, the use of taxpayer property– the Collin County Courthouse – for his news conference today to try to proclaim his innocence is an abuse of discretion, as Mr. Willis was sued as an individual, not as District Attorney. In addition, should he choose to play all or some portion of a conversation with Plaintiff Fallon LaFleur, which we have been advised by a reporter that he secretly recorded, he would compound his violation of the Collin County employee handbook which expressly prohibits the recording or taping of conversations in the Collin County DA’s office and other county workplaces. While neither Ms. LaFleur nor her legal counsel has heard the audio, the fact that Mr. Willis appears to have tried to secretly set her up in the event she later exposed his behavior is again entirely consistent with the conduct alleged against him. 

Our clients look forward to trying their case to a jury while Mr. Willis attempts to do so in the press. 

COLLIN COUNTY DA COMPLAINT

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