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Houston Humane Society Hit With Sexual Harassment Suit

A former employee has sued the Houston Humane Society's shelter director for sexual harassment. Lauren Valverde's lawsuit also names the non-profit itself, saying HHS did nothing to protect Valverde, a clinic supervisor, from Edward Perez's "sexual assaults."

Filed October 30, the suit claims that the abuse, consisting of "unwanted and unwelcomed touching of a sexual nature," occurred from the summer of 2006 until approximately November 2007. "The assaults continued on a regular basis during the period at an average rate of twice per week."

It continues: "Perez's actions resulted in offensive and sexual contact with [Valverde] and [Valverde] suffered bodily injury." Valverde is seeking damages for "mental anguish and suffering, emotional pain, inconvenience, and, eventually loss of her job."

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Perez did not return repeated requests for comment. Houston Humane Society Executive Director Sherry Ferguson said HHS hadn't been served yet and had no comment. Hair Balls also contacted a few HHS board members for comment, but they referred us to Ferguson.

Valverde's attorney, Joseph Ahmad, declined to elaborate on Valverde'z allegations, but he did say he was preparing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints for several former HHS employees.

At least six long-time employees, including two 15-year-employees in charge of intake, have quit HHS in the past six months. 

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