Representative Blake Farenthold Says His Office Faced Two More Sexual Harassment Complaints Last Year: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: A Houston Texans quarterback suffers a disturbing injury, George P. Bush has some competition for Land Commissioner, and UT Austin has a new athletics director.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“F*ck the refs.”
—Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to reporters following Sunday’s game, according to WFAA. Lawrence complained about supposedly not getting any holding calls going in the Cowboys’ way in the past five games. He does have a point—according to WFAA, Cowboys opponents have been flagged for holding just ten times so far this season.
U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold admitted over the weekend that his office faced allegations of sexual harassment from two more women last year, after it was revealed a week earlier that he had used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle similar claims from a former communications director in his office in 2015. Another former spokeswoman, Elizabeth Peace, who left Farenthold’s office last March, told the Houston Chronicle that the Corpus Christi Republican generally made inappropriate comments and “allowed us to work in a place that was just emotionally damaging, and that should never be allowed in any office.” Farenthold’s office confirmed to the Chronicle that two women complained separately to the congressman sometime in 2016 about allegedly discriminatory treatment, including from Farenthold’s chief of staff Bob Haueter. Farenthold’s office told the Chronicle that the first woman—who was later confirmed by the newspaper to be Peace—brought forward her complaint of inappropriate behavior and gender-based treatment, alleging Haueter treated her “differently.” The second woman came forward to report that the first woman had herself engaged in “inappropriate sexualized commentary in the workplace.” That second woman would not comment to the Chronicle and her identity was not revealed by the newspaper. Farenthold said he brought in an “independent investigative team” to look into the complaints, and Farenthold’s current spokeswoman told the Chronicle that “the investigation resulted in the first complaining employee admitting that her problem with Mr. Haueter was based on a personality conflict, and not any gender bias,” and “with regard to the second complaint, the investigators did not find corroboration of the alleged sexualized comments attributed to the complaining employee.” Farenthold’s office also told the Chronicle that the congressman and his entire congressional staff underwent sensitivity and sexual harassment training after the two complaints.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Immediately after he took a crushing hit from a 49ers linebacker on Sunday, Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage stayed on the turf, his hands twitching and arms stuck above his waist, as though he were having a seizure. Savage got up after a few seconds, clearly dazed, and was then put back into the game by the Texans for one series before he was taken back to the locker room and out of the game for good. Amid a national conversation questioning the NFL’s safety protocol for players, particularly after taking blows to the head, there was some confusion as to why Savage was allowed to return to the game after the disturbing play. “Disgusted that the Houston Texans allowed Tom Savage to return to the game after 2 plays after showing these horrifying concussion signs (is that a seizure?) after a head impact,” tweeted Chris Nowinski, the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. “I would not let my worst enemy go through the 2017 NFL sideline concussion protocol.” The Texans denied unconfirmed reports that Savage had a seizure and said the quarterback went through proper testing for a concussion before they put him back in the game, according to the Houston Chronicle.
George P. Bush will face some experienced competition for his job as Land Commissioner. Former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has decided to challenge Bush in next year’s Republican primary, and is expected to announce his candidacy Monday. Bush succeeded Patterson after he gave up his seat to run unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. Patterson served as land commissioner from 2003 to 2015 and served as a state senator in the 1990s. He’s already thrown some shade at Bush, recently penning an editorial criticizing the land office’s response to Hurricane Harvey this year compared to its response to Ike, when Patterson was at the helm. “Harvey victims still living in tents along the coast are, at least in part, victims of a politician’s desire to look good for the next election by being a ‘small government Republican,’” Patterson wrote, according to the Texas Tribune. Bush, who was elected land commissioner in 2014, is also facing a Democratic challenger, Austin energy attorney Miguel Suazo, who announced his candidacy last week.
The University of Texas at Austin has a new director of athletics. Chris Del Conte will be the new vice president for intercollegiate at the university, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The Longhorns stole Del Conte away from their in-state rivals, TCU, where Del Conte helped a small college’s athletics program become extremely successful in big-time college sports. Seventeen of TCU’s twenty-one sports have reached NCAA postseason play under Del Conte. The football team has been particularly strong, winning the Rose Bowl in 2011 and finishing second in the Associated Press Top 25 poll that year. Five TCU coaches won national coach of the year honors, and the football, baseball, and men’s tennis teams won Big 12 titles. Del Conte helped bring the school into the Big 12 too. “I felt it was the ultimate opportunity, the challenge of the job and the legacy of the organization at the University of Texas and what it can be,” Del Conte told the Statesman. “I was so impressed with President Fenves and his vision of what Texas is and can be.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A 77-year-old woman says she was raped by her Dallas Uber driver Dallas Morning News
The Astros might not be the 2018 favorites in the American League anymore Houston Chronicle
A former South Texas priest was sentenced to life in prison after he was finally found guilty of a 1960 murder McAllen Monitor
Video shows Texas State Troopers making routine traffic stops that lead to deportations The Intercept
An interview with Wendy Davis Fort Worth Star-Telegram