Oklahoma Co. Clerk sexual harassment criminal investigation expands to campaign violation allegations

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The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office’s criminal investigation into the records of Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten has expanded to include alleged campaign ethics violations.

Two Oklahoma County employees first contacted News 9 last week with sexual harassment allegations they wanted to uncover ahead of Hooten’s bid for state treasurer.

“I don’t want this to continue to be a trend,” one employee said. “I don’t want voters to elect this man to another position that he shouldn’t be in.”

The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spoke with two alleged victims of Hooten’s sexual harassment, as well as county human resources and the offices of two county commissioners.

The investigator called the comments “shocking” and “strange”.

“There will be alcohol involved, which means we will drink, we will do things, we will play, we will do a bunch of things, some will be fun, some will be scary,” Hooten told employees during the interview. a recording from April 26, 2021.

“Mr. Hooten’s actions in the workplace are not appropriate and have caused great concern and anxiety among affected employees,” the report from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Just so you all know I was genetically modified, so I wouldn’t get drunk no matter what, they gave me a chemical that changes your brain,” Hooten told his employees.

The 15-page report obtained through an open records request notes that these are not the first sexual harassment allegations against Hooten.

“During the investigation, it was learned that there had been allegations of sexual harassment involving Mr. Hooten, which contributes to heightening the anxiety of these employees and what would happen if they were to attend this reception,” the report said.

Hooten said Monday he could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

“Someone is making a big fuss about something that never happened right at election time,” Hooten told News 9 of the harassment allegations last week.

The scope of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Hooten has widened to include the alleged hiring of campaign staffers on the county’s payroll.

“It was learned that Mr. Hooten had hired people who worked on his political campaign and expected a former employee to continue his campaign duties while being paid by the county and performing official duties for the county. “, says the report in part.

The report indicates that Garrity Hamilton is currently employed by Hooten in the County Clerk’s Office. Hamilton is also listed as the Hooten State Treasurer’s Campaign Chairman.

Ultimately, the report found that “Mr. Hooten has created a work environment that is not conducive to normal day-to-day functioning and his actions should be addressed by the appropriate organ of Oklahoma County government.”

Because the clerk is a county-wide elected official, it is unclear who would handle complaints.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater told NonDoc.com that the sexual harassment allegations “did not violate Oklahoma’s criminal laws.”

However, no word yet from the district attorney on the allegations against Hooten’s state treasurer campaign.

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