On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 12NewsNow reported that Judge Tom Gillam III, a justice of the peace for Precinct Eight, has been suspended without pay following an indictment on charges of official oppression related to sexual harassment. The suspension was ordered by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct and will remain in effect until the charges are dismissed, Gillam is acquitted, or further order is made by the commission.

The indictment specifies that Gillam allegedly subjected a female employee in his office to sexual harassment, involving unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical acts of a sexual nature. It asserts that Gillam was aware that these advances or requests were unwelcome for the complainant, and that he acted in his capacity as a public servant.

In this specific case, the purported victim alleges that Judge Gillam engaged in sexual harassment, not assault. It was also noted that while this is a criminal case, it could potentially become a civil matter. Currently, the alleged victim has only filed an EEOC complaint. They also pointed out the possibility that it might be perceived as a monetary claim, as the alleged victim could potentially bring a lawsuit against Gillam and the county.

During Gillam’s absence, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick aims to maintain the docket’s progress and is exploring the appointment of someone to handle those cases. Branick also highlighted that if convicted, Gillam could face a sentence of up to one year in the Jefferson County Jail, along with a fine of up to $4,000.

Gillam held office for nearly two decades, initially appointed to the bench in April 2004, and subsequently elected in 2006. In late 2011, Gillam faced accusations of sexual assault from a 16-year-old girl who had appeared before him on a truancy charge. However, the case was referred to a grand jury, which “no-billed” him, indicating insufficient evidence to support the girl’s claims.

In February 2017, Gillam sustained injuries in Southeast Houston when he reported a woman approached him asking for money while he was on the phone in his car. He informed the police that at about the same time he observed a person approaching the rear of his vehicle through his rear-view mirror, while simultaneously reaching for a firearm. Gillam responded by retrieving his own gun and engaging in a shootout with the individual. It remains uncertain whether he successfully struck the person. After a few days, he was discharged from a hospital in Houston.

It’s crucial to treat the suspension of Judge Gillam as a grave matter. It’s essential to remember that the charges against him are allegations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case will be handled by the district attorney’s office in Liberty, and it’s imperative to allow the legal process to unfold. Simultaneously, it’s vital to acknowledge that sexual harassment is a significant issue, and allegations of this nature should be treated with gravity and respect.

 

Source: 12Newsnow