Harris County Sheriff's Office has new policy regarding sexual contact

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Harris County Sheriff's Office has instituted a new policy that prohibits an employee from having sex with anyone who is related to an active investigation.

It's referred to by some now as the "Clopton Rule."

Sgt. Craig Clopton was fired last October after he admitted to engaging in consensual sexual conduct with a witness to the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth. She is the same woman who claims she was having an affair with the slain deputy. This policy change - obtained first by Eyewitness News - states in part that a deputy shall not engage in sexual contact with "... any individual who is a party to an ongoing active investigation."

"Welcome to the theater of the absurd. It should never be necessary that you have to explain to the investigating officer that having sex with the eyewitness is a no go," said criminal defense attorney Patrick McCann.

He is not affiliated with the Goforth case or the defense of the suspect, Shannon Miles. But he's long been critical of the way the department has handled the investigation. He's wondering about why HCSO thought it necessary to enact this policy. "Unfortunately what it tells me is that this was probably not an isolated incident, as mind boggling as that IS," said McCann.

The attorney for Shannon Miles says he's not surprised by this policy. "You almost feel like you shouldn't have to have it in writing. It's amazing, that they have to put it in writing for these guys to get it," said attorney Anthony Osso.

HCSO says this policy was changed to prohibit sex between witnesses, complainants or victims, not just the accused. The department would not address any specific correlation to the Goforth case.
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