Trail ride rape victim fighting countersuit by Houston Rodeo

July 3, 2018

A 24-year-old woman who sued the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after she was raped during a Los Vaqueros trail ride event is now battling a countersuit from Rodeo officials.

The counterclaim was prompted by an inquiry from Wayne Dolcefino, a investigative journalist turned consultant, on behalf of the Brie Ana Williams, who went public about the rape that occurred when she was 19. Dolcefino asked the Rodeo to provide records about sexual assault claims and security provided during the trail ride at the time of the woman’s assault.

“I come here today as a sexual assault victim and ask the Rodeo why are you suing me?” Williams asked during a press conference Tuesday at the office of Houston attorney Chad Pinkerton. “Why are you trying to sweep this and other sexual assaults under the rug? Why sue a victim? Why?”

A statement provided by Rodeo officials they are not an appropriate party for the woman’s legal claim, which occurred at an unrelated event. They simply want to shut down the inquiry about their business records, according to the statement.

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“The Rodeo is not targeting Ms. Williams,” said the statement released Tuesday.“The lawsuit involves a sexual assault that occurred in Liberty County at a Los Vaqueros Rio Grande Trail Ride Association social function in December 2012, completely unrelated to any Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo event.”

“The Rodeo has already produced its audited financial statements, and is producing its general ledger for the last three years,” it says. The statement said Rodeo officials want a Harris County judge to decide which records it must produce under the Texas Non-Profit Act.

Los Vaqueros officials did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Bruce C. Gaible, the lawyer who filed the counter claim on behalf of all defendants in the initial suit, declined to comment.

Williams sued the Rodeo and Los Vaqueros for damages in 2017 after she was brutally assaulted by two men while passed out in a truck during a 2012 trail ride sponsored event outside a Dayton bar. The two men involved in the rape were convicted in Liberty County, but one is free and attended subsequent trail ride events, according to Williams’ lawyer.

At the time of her the initial lawsuit Williams asked reporters to publish her name in an effort to make the assault part of a public dialogue. The Chronicle does not typically name victims of sexual assault.