Former sheriff arrested, keeps law enforcement certificates

Former Swisher County Sheriff Emmett Benavidez has been arrested for official oppression.

â??In laymen's terms, it alleges that someone in position of authority uses that authority to gain some inappropriate advantage over someone else. In this case, an employee,â?? said James Farren, Randall County district attorney.

Two county employees sued Benavidez for sexual exploitation and abuse on Oct. 2.

In the suit, the women claimed the sheriff offered money for sex and fondled himself.

â??The ranger came to us and he believed the evidence demonstrated that these events occurred in Randall County,â?? Farren said. Benavidez was booked into the Randall County Jail.

One of the women recorded the sheriffâ??s advances on her cell phone.

An open records request filed with the

Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education or TCLEOSE said, â??the records show that no disciplinary actions of suspension or revocation have been taken on this or these licenses.â??

Because no disciplinary actions were taken, Benavidez kept all of his law enforcement certificates. He was also be able to receive his retirement benefits.

Civil rights lawyer Jeff Blackburn says that sexual harassment in the workplace isnâ??t uncommon.

â??What's surprising is when you see one this gross and frankly this good and solid,â?? Blackburn said.

Benavidez posted the $1,500 bail and was released on Tuesday.