The lobbyist at the center of an alleged attempted sexual assault investigation that roiled this Capitol this week will not be charged, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Travis County district attorney.
On Saturday, April 24, it became public that a Texas legislative staffer alleged that a lobbyist attempted to drug her drink with the intent to sexually assault her.
Since then, several legislators made public statements indicating their offices were off-limits to both the lobbyist and the firm of which they were employed. House Speaker Dade Phelan spoke from the floor of the House on the issue when the House reconvened on Monday. Many lawmakers wore pink as a display of solidarity with victims of sexual assault, and legislation was fast-tracked in both chambers requiring sexual harassment training for registered lobbyists.
On Thursday, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Travis County district attorney’s office released a joint statement indicating that after conducting an investigation, they reached the conclusion that the alleged lobbyist had not committed a crime. The statement reads:
“The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office takes the allegation of drugging women very seriously. We work hard to ensure that potential victims are always treated with respect and dignity, and we encourage all women to continue reporting potential crimes to us.”
The statement went on to say, “DPS has conducted a thorough investigation following allegations of drugging of a Capitol staffer by a lobbyist. Together, we have concluded that there is no evidence to support these allegations and that criminal charges are not appropriate. No crime occurred in this instance.”
The lawyers for the accused lobbyist, Rick Dennis, released a statement that said:
“We have today been informed by a reliable source that our client is a victim in this case. The story that our client drugged capital staffers is 100% false and was made up in order to cover the personal misconduct of another individual. Our client paid lawyers, passed a polygraph, and cooperated with the Department of Public Safety in an effort to clear his name and that of Hillco Partners. Based upon the false information provided to law enforcement against our client and subsequently printed in the press, some State of Texas officials went as far as to ban our client from entering their offices to perform his job. To be clear, this was a devious plan to frame our client by an unscrupulous individual or individuals to cover up their own indiscretions. It is our opinion that the individual or individuals involved in this outrageous and immoral scheme should be held accountable by their employers and then prosecuted by our new district attorney.”
The statement given by the lawyers correlates with a conversation they had with Texas Scorecard on Wednesday hinting at an expanded investigation into a potential set-up of Mr. Dennis by others.