Paz v. Weir, CIV. A. H-99-1645.

Citation137 F.Supp.2d 782
Decision Date06 April 2001
Docket NumberNo. CIV. A. H-99-1645.,CIV. A. H-99-1645.
PartiesOlga Lydia PAZ, Plaintiff, v. Fred E. WEIR, Cheryl Archer, Jail Chaplaincy Ministry & Harris County, Texas, Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas

John Mark Somyak, John Somyak and Associates, Sean K. McPherson, John Somyak & Associates, Houston, TX, for Plaintiff.

Elizabeth Trevino, EEOC, Houston District Office, Bettina J. Richardson, Robin Burt Springer, Springer and Associates, Frank Sanders, Harris County Attorney's Office, Houston, TX, for Defendants.

Karen Kay Kristopher, Houston, TX, Pro se.


CRONE, United States Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the court is Defendant Harris County, Texas's ("the County") Motion for Summary Judgment (# 55). The County seeks summary judgment on Plaintiff Olga Lydia Paz's ("Paz") claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, as well as a state law claim for sexual battery. Having reviewed the pending motion, the submissions of the parties, the pleadings, and the applicable law, the court is of the opinion that summary judgment should be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

In the summer of 1997, Paz was incarcerated in the Harris County Jail ("the Jail"), which falls within the purview of the Harris County Sheriff's Department ("Sheriff's Department"). Pursuant to Texas law, the Jail provides a ministry to inmates seeking religious services and spiritual counseling. The Jail contracted with Jail Chaplaincy Ministries, Inc. ("Ministries") to provide such services. Defendant Fred E. Weir ("Weir") was both the President of the Ministries and a working chaplain at the Jail during Paz's 1997 and 1998 confinements. He is currently the Executive Director of the Ministries. In addition to his religious duties, Weir also served as the head of the Jail's library.

Paz alleges that on several occasions during her incarceration, she had various types of sexual contact with Weir. According to an affidavit Paz signed in 1998:

Last year, 1997 on May 5 in cell 12 a-1 I had a spiritual awakening and I know that I that I know that [sic] there is a "God." I was approached by Chaplain Archer in June of 1997 to be a trustee for her. I started working for her in her office. Shortly after I started working for Chaplain Archer I met Chaplain Weir the head Chaplain for Harris County Jail.

I have a gift that the Lord blessed me with. I can draw anything I see. Chaplain Weir bought me close to $100.00 worth of art supplies.

He asked to talk to me in his office one day and he told [sic] me if I was doing alright, how I was feeling and told me that I was a special child in the eyes of "God." He also told me and showed me in the bible where we are forgiven for all our sins that we have committed and the sins we will commit because Jesus Christ died for us so we could go directly to "God" and ask for forgiveness. And than [sic] he told me that we were under grace because of Jesus Christ. He told me I was a very special person and a very beautiful woman.

* * * * * *

The first incident occurred in Chaplain Weir's office on the third floor of the 1301 Jail. I have already described this incident in the first statement of this document. I had asked Chaplain Archer to take me to speak to Chaplain Weir for spiritual counseling and she took me to Chaplain Weir's office in the early afternoon of early July, 1997. Once I was in Chaplain Weir's office, he commenced telling me how special and pretty I was. I could tell immediately that he was coming on to me. I can tell when a man is coming on to me because I have been prostituting for years and can read men. Chaplain Weir asked me if he could do for me financially and I told him my son's birthday was approaching and I would like to get him something. As we talked, Chaplain Weir came around his desk and sat on the edge of the desk facing me as I sat in a chair. He then put his hands under my jail shirt and he fondled my breasts for a few minutes. I knew what he was going to do, I could see it coming, and I didn't object, so I let him fondle me. Chaplain Archer was right outside Chaplain Weir's office at this time. After only a few minutes, the meeting ended and I returned to Chaplain Archer's office where I was an inmate worker.

Some days later, maybe a week or two, I was working alone in Chaplain Archer's office on the 11th floor of the 1301 Jail. Sometime after Chaplain Archer went home, Chaplain Weir came into the office. This was sometime between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. He came straight to me and put his hands under my shirt again and began fondling my breasts again. The fondling occupied about two or three minutes. I remembered that Chaplain Pettiway [sic] was still on the floor, ministering. I told Chaplain Weir this and he stopped fondling me. About two minutes after Chaplain Weir stopped fondling me Chaplain Pettiway [sic] entered the office. She saw me and Chaplain Weir there, talking. I did not tell Chaplain Pettiway [sic] about the fondling because I was then very confused by what Chaplain Weir had done to me. I had looked to him for the spiritual help I needed and he took advantage of my confusion and vulnerable position. Chaplains Weir and Pettiway [sic] then left the office and I remained for the balance of my work shift.

The third incident occurred about the first week of August. I was working alone in the trustee work area of Chaplain Archer's office on the 11th floor again. Sometime between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Chaplain Weir entered the office, came straight to me in the trustee work area (This area is separated from the rest of the office by a partition) and kissed me on the mouth and neck. He then put his hand in my pants and inserted his fingers into my vagina. This lasted for a couple of minutes while he talked about dildos and stated he wanted to use one on me and see my reaction while I had an orgasm. He also said he was looking forward to spending a lot time with me and buying me lacy undergarments. He also told me he would buy my son some birthday presents and told me to get him a list of what presents I wanted for them [sic]. After a couple of minutes he stopped fondling me and made small talk, and then left the office.

After this third incident, I was working in Chaplain Archer's office one day when I saw Chaplain Weir on the floor. I asked to talk to him and gave him some newspaper ads that I had cut out showing the gifts I wanted for my son's birthday. He took the ads and said "OK, that's fine" and left.

About August 20 or 21, I was again working in Chaplain Archer's office. Sometime after 4:00 p.m., Chaplain Cantu told me that Chaplain Weir wanted to see me and then she escorted me to Chaplain Weir's office on the third floor. I entered Chaplain Weir's office and Chaplain Weir shut the door. Chaplain Cantu remained outside. Chaplain Weir told me he had purchased the presents I wanted and I saw a bluish trunk on a dolly. This trunk was one of the cutout ads I had given Chaplain Weir earlier. He told me the other gifts I wanted were inside and I opened the trunk. Inside were an insulated blue lunch box, a gray Dallas Cowboys pullover shirt, a musical Mickey Mouse watch, a pair of gray and blue hiking boots, and some candy. Chaplain Weir had bought tape and wrapping paper and a birthday card, so I wrapped the gifts and signed the card. Chaplain Weir told me he would deliver the gifts to my son the next day. While I was kneeling on the floor wrapping the gifts, Chaplain Weir was behind me with one hand in my pants and his fingers inserted into my vagina. This continued for about twenty minutes while I wrapped the gifts. When I was finished wrapping the gifts, Chaplain Weir extracted his hand, kissed me and told me he would be sure to deliver the gifts the next day. Chaplain Weir then opened the door and I returned to my cell.

About the week of September [sic], I again was working in Chaplain Archer's office on the 11th floor. Between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Chaplain Weir phoned this office and I answered. I believe another Chaplain was in the office when Chaplain Weir phoned, but I cannot recall who. Chaplain Weir asked me if anyone was in the office with me and I, speaking cautiously so the Chaplain present would not understand, told him it would be alright for him to come up in about ten minutes (because the Chaplain present was in the process of leaving). About ten minutes later Chaplain Weir entered the office, came straight to me, and kissed me. He grabbed my pants and I helped him lower my jail pants and underpants to about mid-thigh. My hips, pubic area, and upper thighs were fully exposed. Chaplain Weir got on his knees and began licking my pubic area and inserting his fingers in to my vagina. One hand was fondling my breasts. I think this occupied about fifteen minutes. I became nervous that someone might enter the office and discover us. Chaplain Weir finished, then went to the water fountain and washed his mouth and hands. He talked about how he wanted to see me when I got out of jail and how he was going to financially help me on the outside. He then kissed me and left. I remained in the office and finished my work shift. I was very upset by Chaplain Weir's repeated contacts with me.

According to Paz, she reported these incidents to Chaplain Lynne Johnson ("Johnson"), who advised her to report them to Chaplain Cheryl Archer ("Archer"). Paz claims that she told Archer that Weir "had been fondling [her] and doing other sexual things to [her]." Archer replied, "OK, that's enough," and then prayed with Paz and Johnson. Archer and Johnson then went to Weir's office to confront him about the allegations. When they returned, Archer told Paz that Weir had broken down and cried. Archer informed Paz that Weir was no longer allowed to minister to females and was not permitted to come to...

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