HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. — A former Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy came to tears Monday as he took the stand as the last witness in his own trial. Tommy Pierson is battling sexual assault allegations, after a woman claimed Pierson forced her to perform sexual acts while he was on the job.
Pierson, 38, fought through tears when he apologized for what he called unprofessional behavior. The former deputy was fired immediately once the Harris County Sheriff’s Office learned of the allegations from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Pierson was arrested three months after the day in question. He says he felt as though he betrayed the badge, his family and the citizens of Harris County.
“I’m embarrassed,” Pierson said. “I’m ashamed.”
During his testimony, Pierson recounted Valentine’s Day 2016. He says the alleged victim sexily flirted with him during a traffic stop for speeding. However, the alleged victim testified last week, saying Pierson grabbed her hair and put her head against his groin area. The two accounts directly contradict each other.
“She had mentioned before she wanted to give me a kiss,” Pierson testified Monday. “But I ignored it. I didn’t acknowledge that statement.”
Pierson gave the woman a warning, but the conversation persisted and escalated into heavy flirting. About ten minutes after the alleged victim drove off, dash cam video shows the former deputy once again stopping the alleged victim. The two turn off the road, where matters got more sexually charged. The alleged victim claims Pierson pulled her out of her car and forced her to perform sexual acts. However, Pierson claims the acts were consensual.
“She stepped up to me and started rubbing me again, and I was leaned back up against the car,” Pierson said. “And she put her face right there and she looked up at me. She said, ‘Can I?’ And I told her yes.”
The defense argues that because of a possibly mutual desire to engage in sexual acts, Pierson should have the sexual assault charges against him dropped.
Two more women would eventually come forward, accusing Pierson of stalking them at their homes in 2015. The defense reviewed the stalking statute, which states the charge involves harassing and intimidating courses of conduct placing a person in reasonable fear of safety. The charge carries a pattern of harassing behavior. The defense argues Pierson only engaged in one act in knocking on two alleged victims’ doors. The prosecution countered, saying stalking includes Pierson’s stoppage of the women and repeatedly knocking on their doors.
But the jury will have a tough time learning what really happened. Pierson shut off dash cam video that would have recorded the acts. He also shut off his microphone at certain points during multiple traffic stops. The prosecution argues Pierson intended to prevent evidence from being created. They believe Pierson should be convicted on a tampering with evidence charge.
Fighting through tears, the deputy realized the credibility he could potentially cost law enforcement officers. Now, a jury will decide whether certain acts could cost him jail time. Closing arguments will begin Tuesday morning at 9. Then, the judge will charge the jury to deliberate and deliver a verdict.