(Editor’s note: The following article includes graphic language detailed in the investigative report.)
A report summarizing a sexual harassment investigation into Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten has been released by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, and it states that Hooten’s actions in the workplace are “not appropriate” and have caused “great concern and anxiety” for affected employees.
The report, embedded below, outlines allegations of Hooten using county employees to run his political campaigns on county time, as well as an incident where he allegedly asked a female employee, “How many times do you think I can make you [orgasm] before we get back to the office?” while returning to the county building after co-signing on a vehicle loan for the employee.
The investigative report states that Hooten, who is currently running for state treasurer, has created a work environment that is “not conducive to normal daily operations” and that his actions should be “addressed by the appropriate body of Oklahoma County government.”
Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson’s office began its investigation on May 3 after a county employee captured an audio recording of Hooten discussing a required work trip for himself and female employees that would involve drinking, gambling and facing their “biggest fears.” The incident was reported to the county’s Human Resources Department and, subsequently, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. The trip ultimately did not take place.
‘Genetically altered’ County Clerk David Hooten stands by odd work trip idea by Megan Prather and Matt Patterson
“There will be alcohol involved, meaning we will drink. We will do things. We will gamble. We will do a bunch of things. Some will be fun, some will be scary, but the whole point is it’s going to take us out of your comfort level and at the end you’ll have felt like you endured something,” Hooten can be heard saying on the recording. “And, just so you all know, I’ve been genetically altered so I don’t get drunk no matter what. They gave me a chemical that changes your brain, because I travel in Europe, and so it actually won’t have an effect on me. But hopefully it has an effect on you all.”
Last week, Hooten told NonDoc that while his plan was to make his team think that the trip would involve them facing their fears, the real trip scheduled for May 6 would have only involved going to lunch and visiting iFLY Indoor Skydiving.
“What you have to do with that kind of situation is they have to confront their fears,” Hooten said. “You’re not bothering them, you’re not making them do anything. You’re taking them to a place where it will change their outcome, because the outcome hasn’t been changed in five years. It’s used all the time in corporate America. It may not be used in government, but I stand by everything I did.”
Hooten did not return messages left requesting comment on the sheriff’s report Monday.
‘In the presence of royalty’
At least one employee interviewed by investigators said Hooten has required county employees to conduct campaign business on county time.
On May 25, 2022, investigators spoke with C.J. Cavin, a former employee at the county clerk’s office, who said Hooten had hired him and had asked him to work on Hooten’s county clerk re-election campaign while being paid by the county.
Cavin told investigators that he refused to do campaign work while on the clock for the county and that Hooten ultimately fired him. Cavin told investigators he believes the person Hooten hired to run the county clerk’s office social media accounts was also hired by Hooten and that it is “entirely probable” that the employee is being required to work for Hooten’s campaign on county time.
“Mr. Cavin stated that there were several instances while he was employed at the County Clerk’s Office that Mr. Hooten would approach him during normal work hours and request that he do some work for his re-election campaign,” the report states. “Mr. Cavin stated that he refused each time and told Mr. Hooten that he could not do campaign work for him while he was at work for the county. Mr. Cavin stated that he was aware of several other instances where Mr. Hooten would approach other individuals in the office and assign them tasks for his campaign as well during normal work hours at the county.”
Investigators also spoke to Myles Davidson, chief deputy for District 3 County Commissioner Kevin Calvey. Davidson is running to replace Calvey as District 3 commissioner, as Calvey is running for Oklahoma County district attorney. Davidson told investigators that he had heard Hooten hired his former golf caddie to work in the clerk’s office, which Davidson told investigators he thought was strange.
“He did not know the details of his employment but believed it might be an odd hire and of interest in this investigation,” the report states.
County human resources director Karen Kint interviewed Hooten regarding the planned work outing. Kint told investigators that during the interview Hooten again spoke of his brain being altered chemically so that he cannot become intoxicated while drinking alcohol.
“Ms. Kint did state that during her recent interview with Mr. Hooten, that he again stated that he has been ‘genetically altered’ and had a chemical put in his brain that keeps him from having any effects from alcohol,” the report states. “Mr. Hooten stated to Ms. Kint that this was done because he travels to Europe a lot and spends a lot of time with royalty from various countries. Mr. Hooten stated that it is considered rude if you are offered a drink by royalty and refuse to accept the drink, but he does not want to get drunk and do something embarrassing while he is in the presence of royalty. Ms. Kint found this very odd and wondered why Mr. Hooten would go into details to explain why he has been ‘genetically altered.'”
The report also states that one of the female employees who was in the meeting with Hooten regarding the planned outing told investigators that Hooten’s statements about his invulnerability to alcohol made her fear that she might be drugged during the outing.
“The outlandish statement caused great concern with [the employee],” the report states. “She feared after hearing this statement she was being forced into a situation where sexual assault of some nature was a possibility and because Mr. Hooten had threatened to fire her multiple times in the past she could lose her job if she did not participate.”
Employees and other county officials interviewed by investigators were asked if they had ever seen Hooten abuse a controlled substance.
“All the individuals stated that they believed there was something going on with Mr. Hooten but were not aware of any specific condition caused by a controlled substance,” the report states. “Commissioner (Brian) Maughan and Mr. Davidson each provided some details of late-night calls and text messages from Mr. Hooten that they believed were caused by ‘Ambien.’ They were aware at certain times that Mr. Hooten would take ‘Ambien,’ and each had known other people that had side effects caused by ‘Ambien.'”
Maughan also told investigators he had similar suspicions.
“Mr. Maughan stated he was told the statement regarding drinking at the team building outing being organized by Mr. Hooten referred to general refreshments,” the report says. “He further stated he has wondered if Mr. Hooten takes some sort of medication that contributes to his behavior.”