ABILENE, Texas - A Taylor County commissioner was arrested Friday morning on a warrant for official oppression and public lewdness after allegedly groping a deputy at a fundraising event in Buffalo Gap.
William Brad Birchum, who serves on the commissioners’ court for Precinct 3, turned himself in at the Callahan County Jail for the warrant, which was issued out of Taylor County. He was released shortly afterward on a bond of $5,000.
According to Birchum’s indictment, filed Thursday, a Taylor County Sheriff’s Office deputy reported that Birchum made unwanted sexual advances to her and groped her breast at the Fire and Ice Feast, which took place during the first weekend of February in Buffalo Gap.
According to the Texas Penal Code, official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor, and one of the qualifications is intentionally subjecting another to sexual harassment while acting as a public official.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office said that Texas Rangers are investigating the case. Birchum was a lieutenant with the TCSO before being elected to the commissioners' court.
KTXS left a message for Ranger Danny Crawford, but have not heard back at this time.
Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls would not give comment on the case, but his office told KTXS that no commissioner has been arrested while serving Taylor County.
Birchum will remain on the court while the case is pending. Bolls said it would be "business as usual" for the commissioners unless a court order changes that. He cited local government code which states that removal of county officials must be initiated by a citizen's petition, or through a judge's order during a criminal trial.
Taylor County District Attorney Jim Hicks said he had no comment on the investigation.
KTXS reached out to Birchum for information. He said, “I have no comment, but I appreciate you calling.”
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