Fired Pct. 3 chief deputy: 'My boss solicited sexual harassment claims to fire me'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The former chief deputy at Harris County Constable's Office Precinct 3 spoke to ABC13 about his recent firing after alleged sexual harassment complaints.

Milton Rivera said Constable Sherman Eagleton solicited sexual harassment complaints from disgruntled employees as a pretext to fire him. Rivera said Eagleton grew tired of the lawman looking into agency wrongdoing.

Rivera worked for 11 months as the agency's second in command. He was visible during the investigation into the killing of Assistant Chief Deputy Clint Greenwood.

Eagleton fired him in a letter dated Nov. 17.

The letter reads in part, "Because of your unprofessional actions, dishonesties, and lack of accountability, you are hereby terminated from Harris County Constable Precinct 3, effective immediately."

"I want to prove my innocence. I'm innocent of what he's saying," said Rivera. "He's using me as a scapegoat to pursue his political agenda and hide the stuff I know that he's been doing in the department."

Constable Eagleton's office would not detail the sexual harassment claims against Rivera. They said three women came forward with accusations and two were sexual in nature. The other said she was being harassed in the workplace.

Rivera said one woman accused him of touching her hair. Another accused him of putting his stomach on her.

"I did not at any time make contact with these women," said Rivera. "I did not make contact with these women. These are made up stories. That's the reason I asked for a polygraph. I was denied that polygraph. I haven't received any documentation to show that this is sustained. It's my word against them."

Constable Eagleton declined ABC13's offer to speak one-on-one about the allegations. Jorey Herrscher is the Chief Inspector with the agency and said Rivera's claims are false.

"Milton Rivera was not asked to step down from his post because this was not a witch hunt. He was terminated from his position because facts came up to show that he had been untruthful and to show that he harassed three employees. Those actions caused the result of his termination. Nothing more. Nothing less," said Herrscher. "The constable put a lot of faith in Milton Rivera when he made him his chief deputy. It's not a fun thing to have to dismiss your second in command. He would only do it if he believed it to be necessary and he does believe it was necessary."

In a laundry list of accusations, Rivera accused Eagleton of serious wrongdoing. The accusations includes turning a blind eye to deputies speeding in patrol cars, misusing resources, and refusing to patrol certain communities.

"I will tell you these allegations are false but because of the seriousness of the allegations we are turning them over to the Harris County Attorney's Office to investigate them on their own," said Herrscher. "Precinct 3 will have nothing to do with that investigation."

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