Breaking News
More () »

'Felt a kiss on my forehead' | Letter details accusations that led to Harris County exec Noriega's firing

KHOU 11 obtained a letter detailing allegations against Rick Noriega. Noriega's attorney, Rusty Hardin, responded, calling it 'political correctness run amok.'

HOUSTON — We are seeing for the first time a letter of complaint that Harris County officials say started the events that resulted in the firing of executive Rick Noriega last month. We’re also hearing from Noriega’s attorney.

Noriega was fired from his position as the executive director for Harris County Universal Services last month because he reportedly failed to complete mandatory sexual harassment training. It was training related to a complaint an employee filed against him.  

After he was fired, Noriega threatened legal action against Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and the acting county administrator.

KHOU 11 obtained a redacted version of the original complaint. In it, the unidentified person who filed the complaint said that on December 13, 2022, Noriega put his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead. She said she “felt paralyzed in the moment, not knowing how to react or what to do.”  She went on to say she felt embarrassed as she was writing the complaint.

But Noriega’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, responded Friday, calling it “political correctness run amok,” saying the complaint against his client came a month after the husband of the person filing the complaint was disciplined by Noriega. 

Below, you can read the full complaint against Noriega and below that is Hardin's full statement.

First, the letter of complaint against Noriega

And this is attorney Rusty Hardin's statement.

“It is an incredible exaggeration and an inappropriate reaction to what happened, Rick is owed an apology from everyone who participated in slandering one of the finest public servants I know. One only has to look at the wildly inaccurate reaction of the County Judge to see how absurdly far we have come in mischaracterizing a normal friendly greeting in a public venue. It was in the entry hallway to a public Commissioners Court meeting with numerous people around!!! This is simply political correctness run amok. And it came one month after Rick had disciplined the husband of the person making the complaint.”

Before You Leave, Check This Out