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Lawsuit over Oklahoma medical examiner firing reveals harassment claim

A lawsuit over the 2010 firing of Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner Collie Trant reveals he had been accused of sexual harassment. Dr. Trant claims he was only joking. His lawsuit is still pending.
by Nolan Clay Published: January 14, 2013
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He testified she once said in a van full of employees that she couldn't get her seat belt on because her breasts were so big. Ballard denied making such a statement.

Trant testified: “I said, ‘I'll tell you what: If you go to Victoria's Secret and spend it there and model what you buy, then you can do it.' I said, ‘Because if they are too big for the seat belt, they must really be something.'”

Trant wrote the personal check to pay the bills of a woman waiting for the completion of an autopsy report or death certificate so she could get life insurance. He said he expected the woman would pay him back but her problem was resolved before the check was sent.

The sexual harassment accusation against Trant is ironic because he had been hired in 2009 to clean up the agency. The medical examiner's office was being rocked in 2009 by sexual misconduct accusations involving a former chief investigator.

Trant had sought to implement a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment.

Another female employee claimed in an affidavit in the lawsuit that Trant talked about having sexual dreams involving his sister-in-law. The employee stated Trant “would openly discuss an infatuation he possessed with his sister-in-law.”

Trant told The Oklahoman he discussed with the employee having bizarre dreams when he took the sleep medication Ambien. He denied describing them as sex dreams. “I didn't say anything about what the dreams were,” Trant said.

Trant claims in his lawsuit 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 Friday.

He also claims the board violated the Open Meeting Act when it voted to fire him.

Trant, who still lives in Oklahoma, said Friday the board drummed up lies about him 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.”

Ballard told The Oklahoman last week, “I'll just be glad when it's all over.”

by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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