Abraham Watkins’ Representation of Woman Claiming Sexual and Racial Harassment by Former Police Chief Gains Attention

Abraham Watkins’ own Benny Agosto, Jr. and Scott Armstrong are proud to represent a veteran Galveston police officer for claims that she was sexually and racially harassed by former Galveston Police Chief Henry Porretto from 2013 to 2015. In the complaint filed with the federal Equal Opportunity Commission, the officer says Porretto discriminated against her because of her African-American race and her gender and promised her job advancement in return for sexual favors. When she refused such requests, positions were denied and job opportunities were taken away.

Porretto retired from the GPD in September, just days after City Manager Brian Maxwell suspended him and sought to begin an investigation into the harassment complaint. But this investigation was egregiously called off after Porretto retired, essentially allowing him to move on elsewhere free of charges and maintain his pension.

Agosto and Armstrong have requested that the EEOC grant permission to sue the City of Galveston. The officer requests that the city publicly apologize and recognize Porretto’s appalling behavior. The reprehensible racially-charged name-calling and the promises for promotion in return for sexual favors constitute actionable behavior under Title VII, part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits discriminating against employees based on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

The case recently gained the attention of the local Galveston media as the public continues to question why a full investigation into Porretto’s conduct was not performed.

Benny Agosto, Jr. and Scott Armstrong are attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 60 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.