MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 14, 2013

Ex-ME allegedly committed sexual harassment


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A lawsuit filed by former Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Collie Trant reveals that he allegedly sexually harassed an employee.

Trant was fired Feb. 5, 2010, after spending less than nine months as head of the state medical examiner’s office.

The filing, reported Sunday by The Oklahoman, showed that Trant was placed on leave after the board that oversees the office learned that he had suggested the female employee buy an item from Victoria’s Secret and model it.

Trant, 64, testified during a 2012 deposition that he was joking when he made the comment and that both he and the employee laughed.

The employee, who no longer works for the office, also testified in a deposition, saying that Trant in late January 2010 wanted to personally pay a woman’s utility bill and left “a check on my desk for $1,000 made out to me.”

She testified that she told Trant on the phone that she did not think paying the woman’s bill was a good idea.

“I jokingly said, ‘I’m going to take your money and go to the mall,’ “ she testified.

She said he told her to make sure to go to Victoria’s Secret and buy some things that wouldn’t constrict her breasts. She recalled the doctor used a slang word to describe her anatomy.

“I think he laughed and I said, ‘OK,’ and got off the phone,” she testified.

Trant was hired in 2009 to clean up the agency after sexual misconduct accusations involving a former chief investigator were lodged. Trant had sought to implement a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment.

Trant’s lawsuit claims he was wrongly fired after he tried to tell the board about evidence of employee misconduct and about wrongdoing by an outside investigator. He also claims he was fired because he told the board he was going to hire an attorney.

“I had evidence of crimes and, at the suspension meeting, the board thought I was just paranoid. They weren’t going to do anything about it,” he said.

He also claims the board violated the Open Meeting Act when it voted to fire him and that members drummed up lies to try to justify its actions.

“It just irks me,” Trant said. “They finally realized they didn’t have anything to fire me for and they started coming up with this.”

The employee in the sexual harassment allegation said that she’ll “just be glad when it’s all over.”