HOUSTON ---A department entrusted to protect and serve is accused of violating one of its own, and now Texas Southern University is facing a lawsuit as a result.
“I blame everyone from the President on down,” said TSU police officer Lisa Rodriguez. “They knew what was happening and refused to do anything about it.
Rodriguez has worked as a police officer for the TSU’s Department of Public Safety for the last three years. She claims a supervisor has repeatedly sexually harassed her and complaints to superiors were repeatedly ignored.
“He would brush against my chest and my backside and follow me around all the time,” said Rodriguez.
Lieutenant Preston Fontenot has a history of sexual harassment complaints. In 2004, a TSU student alleged she was being stalked and harassed by the then patrol officer. A subsequent investigation resulted in Fontenot’s dismissal, but he was rehired by the university several months later.
Fontenot says he was vindicated of the prior allegations.
Attorneys are suing TSU on behalf of Rodriguez, alleging the university has ignored her complaints and changed her assignments as a means of retaliation. “We’re going to get to the bottom of things and make sure people pay for what’s happened” said Jason Gibson, an attorney with the Gibson Law Firm in Houston.
TSU officials refused to comment because of the pending litigation.
Rodriguez says she just wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else. “No one deserves this and I hope it never happens again.”