Maybe it's no surprise that the late Glen Cheek, longtime constable of Harris County Precinct 5 who died in April, is not going quietly into that good night.
After all, Cheek built a reputation as a hard-ass throughout his 40-plus-year law-enforcement career. When he died, the Houston Chronicle obit gleefully recalled how he once sent 50 officers to a Montrose rooftop club after a rock fell onto an HPD car.
In the obit, his ex-wife laughingly described him as an "old school" type who "let you know when he was mad at you."
Cheek was first elected constable to west Houston's Precinct 5 in 1988 and was running things right up until he died.
Now it looks like his long tenure is going to come under some scrutiny.
Kimberley Owen, a former deputy constable in the precinct for 19 years, is suing the county over what she says is the sexual harassment and discrimination she endured on the job.
Cheek not only called his female employees such endearing terms as "cunt" and "bitch," Owen's suit states, he "ordered them to perform stereotypical female tasks such as shopping and cooking for him."
Hey — we thought the little ladies liked doing stuff like that.
Owen's attorney, Scott Newar, says he's hoping other employees join his suit. "We've already obtained a fair amount of evidence from other female and male deputies to back up the allegations," he says. "This is not going to be just a hearsay situation. There will be proof as to the use of slurs and degrading treatment."
(Lina Garcia, assistant Harris County attorney, said she couldn't comment on the suit because the county had yet to be formally served with it.)
Owen was eventually fired from her job in February 2006. Newar says the termination came because of her complaints about her treatment; the firing did occur, however, within days of Owen being charged with DWI in Montgomery County.
Newar says the DWI charges were eventually dropped, and that Owen was fired without being able to prove her innocence.
"We believe there's evidence that will come to light that will show that when male deputies were stopped or illegally intoxicated or involved in other alleged criminal activity, that Constable Cheek and his underlings looked the other way," Newar says. "When it came to Ms. Owen they were quick to pull the trigger, but when it was a male deputy they swept it under the rug."
Now hold on a second there, suh — boys will be boys, you know. No need to get your panties in a wad.
Of course, Cheek isn't around to defend himself from these charges. Which is too bad, because we're guessing he'd have something pretty damn quotable to say.
Toys R Him
Local attorney Randall Kallinen is a board member of the Houston chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, so he's a veteran of many long-shot battles.
His next fight: The noble dildo.
He's not taking on the battle on behalf of the ACLU, just some sad-sack store employee who's the latest to get caught up in Texas's arcane law limiting ownership of dildos to no more than six.
Actually, Kallinen doesn't sound too sure of his sex-toy technology. Asked if the "obscene devices" in question might actually be vibrators, he says, "well, I'm told some of them may have some vibrating parts to them." (We're guessing it makes a big difference.)
Kallinen says the cops raided a Montrose store after they were tipped by the store's former owner. He's hoping to get the charges dropped against his client, a guy appropriately enough named Hancock, but promises an all-out fight if they're not.
"Who's the victim here? The only people in that store are people who wouldn't be offended," he says.
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The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected a request to rule on overturning a similar Alabama law, so Kallinen may have his work cut out for him.
But fake-dick lovers everywhere in Texas will be rooting him on. In private, no doubt.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced an aggressive plan to cut property taxes recently. Emmett, who was appointed this year to finish the term of Robert Eckels, is running to keep his seat, so tax cuts are important. And his aggressive plan will result in a savings of $12 a year to the average homeowner. That may sound like the token-est of token tax cuts, but you dont know our Ed! Check out his AlmostMySpace page here.