Deputy Jasmine Huff, who her attorneys say is currently out on maternity leave at the precinct, alleges she and other female deputies were handpicked for "undercover operations" with the precinct's human trafficking unit under the guise of legitimate police work.
She says what began as an idea for "bachelor party" prostitution stings that deputies were told were meant to combat human trafficking turned into a "booze-fueled playground for sexual exploitation" in which the female deputies were subject to "disgusting abuse."
Houston attorneys Brock and Cordt Akers of The Akers Firm PLLC and Bill Ogden of Farrar & Ball LLP amended a complaint filed last week against Constable Alan Rosen, Chief Chris Gore and Lt. Shane Rigdon to include Deputy Huff as an additional complainant.
Huff's attorneys say she had to endure the practices of her former partner, Rigdon.
Huff and Rigdon were reportedly involved in a prostitution sting in which a potential target did not trust the pair, and therefore asked them to have sex, according to Huff's attorneys.
"Lt. Shane Rigdon didn't have it in his mind that this was an operation, he had it in his mind that this was a party," said Cordt Akers at a press conference Wednesday.
Huff reportedly froze when the request was made. However, her attorneys allege Rigdon jumped at the opportunity.
Rigdon allegedly pulled Huff into his lap, pulled her dress up, exposing her, and moved her back and forth on his lap, Cordt said.
"Any reasonable person would do exactly what Jasmine Huff did, and that's freeze, mortified at the possibility that 'this is going to be required of me as an undercover capacity,' sanctioned by the county, ordered by her chief deputy," Cordt said.
Huff says she was told she could never tell anyone about what happened during the sting.
"One would hope and pray and expect that after something like this happens on an operation, that after being forced to endure something like this, that you'd get an apology, that'd you'd get an 'I'm sorry,'" Cordt said. "Instead, Jasmine got a command. She was told, 'You can never tell anyone about this.'"
Despite the warning, Huff says she tried to report the incident to her supervisors and chief of staff, but was ignored.
Huff later claims she saw Rosen at an event and tried to talk to him about the incident. She alleges Rosen stuck his hand up when she spoke of the incident and said, "I don't want to hear it. You have to go through your chain of command," Cordt said.
Attorneys provided a photo at Wednesday's press conference that depicted a group of alleged deputies laughing while playing with a sexual object during a sting operation. Attorneys say a female deputy can be seen in the corner of the photo with her head down.
"If that is the policy that Precinct 1 is enacting for these operations, then that policy needs to change now," Cordt said while holding the photo.
Fellow deputy and accuser Jacquelyn Aluotto stood with Huff and issued a statement on behalf of herself and the other three women in the suit.
The statement read, in part:
"We are here, standing with Jasmine, and we support you and are proud of you. We are standing strong together and we are standing in solidarity. This is very scary, but we are doing this together... We saw the statement that Constable Rosen said, that we are doing this in an effort to impugn the hardworking men and women of Pct. 1. That's simply not true. That is not what this case is about. Many of those hardworking men and women have reached out to us to show their support and solidarity, and let us know that they are proud of us and they think that we are brave... We have the message that we've always had, last week, and will continue to have. We will not be silent. This can never happen again. This never will happen again."
Hours after the latest accuser went front and center, Constable Rosen stated his office isn't immediately addressing the new allegations.
"As there is a legal matter pending and laws regarding privacy of personnel matters, we are not at liberty to discuss the facts of this case now, as much as we might want to do so. We believe our system of due process works and remain confident that justice and truth will prevail as facts, in this case, come to light in the proper forum," said Rosen.
READ MORE: Harris Co. Pct. 1 female deputies accuse male bosses of molestation and trauma
Attorneys originally filed the federal lawsuit on May 24 against Precinct 1, alleging sexual misconduct by male superiors against female deputies.
In a press release sent to ABC13, attorneys said female deputies "were molested and traumatized by their intoxicated male commanding officers for their own sexual gratification during undercover law enforcement operations." The lawsuit alleged that the female Precinct 1 deputies were chosen for "undercover operations" but they soon turned into a "booze-fueled playground for sexual exploitation."
Aluotto, who has been deemed the whistleblower, became the voice for the other women who said they were victimized by the very agency they served.
"We want to send a message this can never happen again," said Aluotto, who used to work in the Human Trafficking Unit at Precinct 1.
The plaintiffs' attorneys said the unit, led by Gore, would have sting operations.
Attorneys said the stings turned into booze-filled parties where female deputies were encouraged to drink a lot to "loosen up." From there, they were touched inappropriately.
"These brave women were ordered by their commanding officer that your job in my unit, in an undercover capacity, is to dress in scandalous clothes, to allow me to kiss you, to allow me to fondle you. Essentially, to be molested by their commanding officer," said Cordt last week.
Aloutto got word of what was happening and said she reached out to Constable Rosen himself but said nothing changed.
"We expect our deputies to be able to go to work, especially with a complex crime like human trafficking, and to be able to do their job," said Aloutto. "And to not be able to do their job, because you're being exploited and oppressed at your workplace, can never happen again."
Aluotto is nationally known as a human-trafficking advocate, who in 2020, received an award from the United Nations for her work. According to the lawsuit, Aluotto was hired by Constable Rosen's office and "vigorously complained" about the harassment, sexual assault, retaliation and bullying in Precinct 1's Human Trafficking Unit.
But when she called out the alleged misconduct and abuse, she was fired, court documents say. The lawsuit also accuses Rosen and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg of knowing about the abuse but not taking any action.
In response, the Harris County District Attorney's office said that when they receive such allegations, they connect the officer with appropriate investigative entities. Read their full statement below:
"Anytime we receive an allegation from an officer accusing a fellow officer of impropriety, we connect them with appropriate investigative entities. We are not the investigative agency for such allegations, be them administrative, civil or criminal. In this matter, our Sex Crimes Division quickly asked Constable Pct. 1 Internal Affairs to investigate whether there was evidence of a crime and Ms. Aluotto has represented she contacted the Texas Rangers. Nothing has been presented to prosecutors by either agency."
ABC13 reached out to the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's office last week, who shared the following statement:
"When we were made aware of a concern by a third party several months ago, I proactively instructed our Internal Affairs Division to conduct an investigation. We did this even though no one made a formal complaint. This is consistent with our ongoing commitment to protecting victims and our personnel. My sensitivity toward victims remains our highest priority. To this day, not one of these plaintiffs has ever made a formal complaint. Each employee interviewed was given the opportunity, in a safe environment, to express any concerns. Their own interview statements contradict many of the allegations in the lawsuit.
Upon conclusion of our internal investigation, our Administrative Disciplinary Committee found no violations of law or policy. When we began our proactive internal investigation, we immediately transferred leadership of the Human Trafficking Unit to another supervisor who still maintains oversight of that unit today.
Victim's voices matter. I have a zero-tolerance stance against sexual assault and sexual harassment and would never allow a hostile work environment as alleged. This lawsuit is an effort to impugn the good reputation of the hard-working men and women of the Precinct One Constable's Office. I believe our system of due process works and that justice and truth will prevail as facts, in this case, come to light. We will have no further comment today on this matter."
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