Here, We List The Public Sexual Misconduct Accusations Made Against High-Profile North Texans. This Post Will Be Updated As More Accusations Come To Light.
Updated on April 16, 2018.
It was only a matter of time, really.
After a wave of #MeToo accusations surfaced and started taking down the likes of powerful politicians, A-list actors and movie producers, that same movement was bound to eventually sharpen its focus onto other, less bold-faced names and industries. It first arrived here Dallas at the end of 2017, bringing down two members of the art community and one sports icon.
And as the calendar has turned to 2018, the trend is showing no signs of slowing down as a public official has too fallen from grace and been removed from office.
In this space, we’ll be compiling a running list of the disgraced, high-profile Dallasites who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. We are not so naïve so as to believe that these are the only instances of sexual misconduct in Dallas or that these instances matter more because of these individuals’ public profiles. This is simply one step we are taking toward continuing this conversation.
Before scrolling down to read the below list of accused offenders, please beware that some of the descriptions included here are graphic, and some may find their details unsettling.
- Gavin Delahunty resigned from his post as the senior curator of contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Art on November 18 after “allegations regarding [his] inappropriate behavior” came to light, ArtNews reported that day. Though the allegations have not made been clear, D Magazine noted the connection between Delahunty and a New York-based painter named Natalie Frank, who wrote a personal essay for ArtNews in which she mentioned that a curator at a “powerful institution” made sexual comments toward her at a meeting; she later learned that people at the institution often added “Grabbin” before the curator’s name. The DMA, however, has not publicly confirmed if Frank was referring to Delahunty.
- Lee Trull was fired from his post as director of new play development at the Dallas Theater Center on December 4, Theater Jones first reported, after a woman filed a complaint with the DTC about Trull. She claimed that Trull would corner her in her dressing room, forcibly kiss her and make her touch his penis. At least three women who worked at the DTC also described to Theater Jones that Trull would harass them, either in person or via social media.
- Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin is no stranger to controversy in his years in the public eye. And just last July, Irvin avoided rape charges after prosecutors in Fort Lauderdale found that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against him when a 27-year-old woman accused him of drugging and raping her at a Florida hotel. Later in the year, though, a former NFL Network makeup artist alleged that Irvin made inappropriate gestures and comments toward her on more than one occasion, and that she would often go out of her way to try and avoid him. She reported the actions to the NFL Network’s HR department. Beyond being accused in the press, Irvin has not faced any public repercussions from the NFL Network for his alleged behavior while on the cable station’s payroll.
- Long-time Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson was forced out of his office following accusations of alleged sexual harassment, NBC 5 DFW reported on January 4. In a statement, the victim’s attorneys said there was a “pattern and practice of sexual abuse, harassment, intimidation, and retaliation by Mr. Thompson.” When the news first broke, Thompson and his attorney claimed that the former director was already going to retire, and that he was not fired due to the accusations. But a statement from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins shows that Thompson was indeed terminated from his position on January 3. Still, Thompson’s attorney maintained in an interview with the Dallas Observer that all accusations made against his client are false.
- Restaurant magnate Phil Romano — the owner of Eatzi’s and Nick & Sam’s, the lead investor in the Trinity Groves restaurant development and the founder of Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Fuddrucker’s — was sued for sexual harassment in July 2016 by a former assistant manager at Eatzi’s named Ichel Cook after Romano walked behind her and stuck his hand between her buttocks. The entire incident was captured on restaurant security video. While the news of the lawsuit is not new, Cook did re-up on her legal battle last August when she filed a wrongful termination suit, the Dallas Observer reports. According to court filings, Cook alleges that she experienced repeated retaliation from restaurant management after she brought up the 2016 incident to Eatzi’s HR department.
- Two former Navarro College male cheerleaders have gone public with accusations against former volunteer assistant cheerleading coach Andre McGee, alleging that McGee sexually assaulted them while they were in the college’s cheerleading program. McGee was indicted for sexual assault in March 2017 after one victim came forward, alleging that in October 2015 McGee forced him to take Xanax and that he woke up from a drug-induced stupor to find McGee sodomizing him. The victim also said that McGee would slap male cheerleaders in the face, forced them to drop their pants and have them pose for nude photos. The second victim said McGee assaulted him in July 2015 when he flew in for a cheer camp. He alleges that McGee got him intoxicated and took advantage of him during that trip. The second victim also said that other members on the cheerleading squad urged him not to go forward with his own story out of fear that the 12-time national champion squad would be stripped of its titles once the news broke. The first victim is suing both McGee and Navarro College as McGee’s criminal case proceeds.
- Former U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Javier Palomarez resigned from his post on February 12, 2018, after allegations of sexual harassment and financial misconduct were reviewed by the USHCC board this past weekend, the New York Times reports. The allegation of sexual harassment against Palomarez was made by his former chief of staff, Gissel Gazek Nicholas, who was fired late last year. Nicholas told the New York Times that after a 2013 meeting at a Chicago hotel suite, Palomarez requested that she stay behind, then asked if she ever thought about “being with him” and tried to kiss her. She has threatened to sue Palomarez and the USHCC for sexual assault, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Palomarez, who lives in Flower Mound, served as group’s CEO since its inception in 2010. According to Dallas County court filings, Palomarez has asked the court to depose a former member of the USHCC board named Nina Vaca, the CEO of the Dallas-based Pinnacle Group, an IT staffing and consulting firm. Per the New York Times, Vaca presented the claims of financial misconduct against Palomarez. who has denied both allegations and said in a statement that the claim of financial impropriety was a retaliatory measure by Vaca.
- Former Dallas Mavericks team president and CEO Termeda Ussery was accused by six former Mavs employees of perpetual sexual harassment and misconduct, Sports Illustrated reports. During his 18-year tenure with the team, Ussery allegedly made inappropriate comments, accosted and propositioned various female employees. In 1998, the team conducted an internal investigation after a few of those employees brought Ussery’s actions to executives’ attention. He would remain in his role for 17 more years before departing of his own volition in 2015. During that time, he allegedly continued harassing female employees, many of whom left the organization. Ussery has denied the allegations and called them false. Following the publication of that SI report, Mavericks human resources head Buddy Pittman was fired by Mavs owner Mark Cuban for allegedly not taking any action on Ussery’s actions.
- Portland’s Williamette Week reported yesterday that the Portland Police Bureau investigated a sexual assault complaint made against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in 2011. In April of that year, a woman filed a police report alleging Cuban made unwanted sexual advances toward her while partying in a Portland Bar after a Mavericks game against the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs through which the team would win its first NBA Championship. According to her statement, Cuban posed with the woman for a photograph, then slipped his hand into her pants from behind, cupped her buttocks, moved his hand closer to her groin and then slipped the tip of his finger into her vagina. The woman filed her report a month after the incident but police never filed any charges. Beyond a photo in which Cuban’s hand is out of sight and the accuser looks visibly uncomfortable, the prosecutor and complainant agreed that there wasn’t enough physical evidence to corroborate her claim. Cuban’s attorney Stephen Houze denied the allegations against Cuban, and Cuban himself vehemently denied the allegations in 2011 call logs obtained by Williamette Week. According to investigation documents, the woman told a friend of hers about the incident in the moments after it happened, but she was hesitant to immediately file any report, as she did not want to be “labeled ‘that girl’ and involved in a sex scandal with Mark Cuban.”
- All/Everything DJ John Stewart and nightlife fixture Tony Curtis (real name Martinez) were accused of rape by a number of women on social media. In the most graphic of stories shared, one woman alleged that, after a night of partying in Dallas on February 3 of this year, Stewart offered to drive the woman to her home in Denton. But before doing so, he stopped at Curtis’ home, where the two allegedly sexually assaulted her. That is just one of many encounters described online involving each of men, both as individuals and in tandem.