Another female convention center employee reports being assaulted by co-workers at city-run facility

SAPD assault report filed amid ongoing lawsuit against city filed by female convention center employees

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. (Adam B. Higgins, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A female maintenance worker at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center told San Antonio police last week that two male co-workers have repeatedly assaulted her in the past six months.

The allegations, laid out in an Aug. 15 SAPD assault report obtained by KSAT Investigates, are the latest issues to arise at the city-run facility, where at least five maintenance supervisors have been accused of improperly treating female coworkers in recent years.

The employee, who KSAT is not naming, told SAPD officers the two men have repeatedly harassed her in the building and have pulled her hair “every time she clocks into work,” according to the report.

During one incident on Aug. 10, the woman said one of the men pulled her hair so hard that it came out and left a bump on her head, according to the report.

The woman said she waited until this month to file a formal criminal complaint because she did not want to lose her job and was still on work probation, the report states.

She also told police an employee of the city’s human resources department “told her to not tell anybody about what happened,” according to the report.

An SAPD spokesman told KSAT late last week the report was waiting to be assigned to a detective investigator.

The report does not indicate if the two men are the female employee’s supervisors.

Asked for comment, a city spokeswoman sent the following statement attributed to the city attorney’s office: The City takes all allegations of violence in the work place seriously. We are currently investigating all the facts surrounding this employee’s allegations.

The assault report was filed amid an ongoing lawsuit against the city filed by female maintenance employees of the convention center, who state in legal filings that they have been subjected to sexual harassment, sexual assault, battery and verbal abuse by their male supervisors.

The suit, which was filed earlier this year in Bexar County District Court and seeks more than $1 million in damages, remains pending.

The suit claims that under the watch of Convention and Sports Facilities Director Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, the convention center “has become a den where male supervisors prey on their female subordinates.”

Muzquiz Cantor told KSAT earlier this year that it is important to her to have a safe, healthy and welcoming environment for all employees.

The comments came weeks after a maintenance crew leader resigned amid accusations he groped two female employees and exposed himself to one of the women in a convention center elevator.

In a separate incident in 2021, surveillance camera footage showed maintenance supervisor Juan Cortez grab the back of a female employee’s hair and then yank it while the woman walked alongside co-workers near a convention center loading dock.

The woman was diagnosed with neck strain and at one point was instructed by her doctor not to lift anything at work over 20 pounds.

She also detailed a previous incident to KSAT in which Cortez pulled her arm and put it behind her back like a police officer.

Cortez was later suspended five days and moved to another area of the convention center to prevent any further interaction with the female employee.

He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault last year, weeks after KSAT Investigates exposed city surveillance footage of him yanking the woman’s hair.

For nearly a year, law enforcement took no formal action against Cortez.

He retired from the city in April, city officials previously confirmed.

A Bexar County jury found Cortez not guilty of misdemeanor assault after a short jury trial in June, court records show.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.