Former Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman has been accused of joking that Chinese restaurants serve cats and saying a thousand other impolite things in an exquisitely documented article in the Topeka Capital-Journal.
According to reporter Tim Carpenter, Gorman, now a Kansas Department of Revenue attorney, “faces complaints of tormenting state workers with sexually charged comments and unprofessional assertions.” A year ago, Gorman joined the Brownback administration after 35 years as a prosecutor in Wyandotte. Only in the 28th paragraph does the reader learn that Gorman is a Democrat.
Apparently as top dog in Wyandotte County, Gorman could say what he pleased, but in Topeka, working in the Brownback administration, his comments came in for extra scrutiny. Although the investigation into Gorman’s comments is ongoing, Carpenter has documented an extraordinary catalogue of comments allegedly made by Gorman. Readers may find themselves more horrified by the reporting of these comments than by Gorman’s saying them. Some samples:
* In discussing a too talkative female colleague, Gorman reportedly said “With legs like that, I bet her husband doesn’t mind.”
* He told staff members that he once had a female employee who pulled down her pants in his office to show off a thigh tattoo.
* He allegedly joked about erectile dysfunction and made quips about bisexuality.
* A Catholic, he was said to have argued that Hispanics were “destroying the Catholic church because it’s their culture to have the church provide everything for them but they contribute nothing to the church.” (This is presented as a direct quote).
* He suggested that a staff member could deal with her sick cat by taking “it to a Chinese restaurant” for use in cooked meals.
* He questioned a female subordinate why so many women in law enforcement were gay.
* He reportedly accused Mark Dupree, who beat him in the 2016 Democratic DA primary, of pandering to black voters in Wyandotte County.
The charges against Gorman were leveled by a career law enforcement officer who worked in the revenue division named Marc McCune. McCune claims he was subsequently fired because he leveled the charges, although conceding he was an unclassified employee and subject to dismissal without cause.
The plot, Carpenter admits far too late in the lengthy article, is a little thicker than it might appear. “It is possible an email sent Nov. 29 to Gorman by Nancy Tellez-Alvarez, a revenue department special investigator, was used as a factor to remove McCune,” he writes. “Tellez-Alvarez, allowed to bring a young child to the office, said she recalled McCune yelling and pacing at work in mid-November. She said McCune apologized for the outburst, but Tellez-Alvarez said she feared for her child’s safety.” McCune was armed. The fact that Gorman allowed an Hispanic employee to bring her child to work would seem to run counter to the image of Gorman McCune was at pains to create.
A week after the incident, McCune sent a “single-spaced, five-page letter to the Department of Administration detailing Gorman’s alleged improprieties.” Carpenter’s reporting, alas, seems as obsessive as McCune’s documenting.