Ex-Texas sheriff charged with official oppression

CANYON, Texas (AP) - A former West Texas sheriff has been accused of making improper advances to a female county worker.

Randall County District Attorney James Farren said ex-Swisher County Sheriff Emmett Benavidez was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor official oppression. Benavidez, who resigned in November 2011 amid the allegations, was freed on $1,500 bond.

Investigators didn't immediately release further details on the alleged October 2011 incident.

Two Swisher County workers this month sued Benavidez and County Judge Harold Keeter. The women, who seek unspecified damages, allege Benavidez fondled himself near them and the judge retaliated against them for complaining.

Keeter and Benavidez have not formally responded to the lawsuit. Keeter couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. No publicly listed phone number could immediately be found for Benavidez.

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