Dallas sex offender incident focus of new antI-HERO ad

A two-time sexual predator living as a woman is the focus of the latest ad in the battle over the proposed HERO ordinance.

- The latest anti-HERO ad pivots off recent claims by Mayor Annise Parker that there have been no reported problems in cities that have granted transgender folks bathroom choice

"This just doesn't happen," said Parker, a line the ad repeats three times.

The anti-HERO campaign claims Parker is wrong, citing the 2012 disorderly conduct citation issued to a transgender woman who entered the ladies restroom at a Dallas hospital.

Turns out, Paula Witherspoon had not yet completed gender re-assignment and was still viewed by the state as Paul Witherspoon, a man who served time for attacking female children.

"The 56 year old transsexual is on the sex offenders website. She was convicted of sexual assault and indecency with a child in 1990," says the ad's narrator.

But it was determined Witherspoon committed no crime in the 2012 case and the disorderly conduct citation was dismissed.

"She did nothing wrong, she did nothing wrong and in fact the hospital where the incident happened issued an apology," said Fran Watson, a spokesperson for the pro-HERO group Houston Unites.

"Once we take that moment and step back we will see what Proposition 1 is about and that is about prohibiting discrimination in the city of Houston," added Watson.

But in the battle to convince Houstonians, Rice political analyst Mark Jones believes this ad will help Prop 1 opponents instill concern among voters on the fence.

"What the anti-Hero forces have found is their smoking gun. It's rare. It's like a lightning strike. I think the pro-HERO forces can make the case that there was no predatory activity going on here, but they can no longer say this never happens," said Jones.

The Witherspoon incident at Parkland Hospital was widely reported in the Metroplex.

In 2014, Dallas voters overwhelmingly approved an equal rights law which included bathroom access of choice for transgender people. In 2013, neighboring Ft. Worth passed an equal rights law that does not include restroom rights related to gender self-identification. 

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