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

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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, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend 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, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.

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  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

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