Written by: Cindy George – Houston Chronicle (pictured)

The city of Houston has settled with former police Sgt. Michael L. Cox, whose federal retaliation lawsuit alleged that he was fired for backing the sexual harassment claims of a female motorcycle officer.

The tentative $155,000 agreement must be approved by the Houston City Council.

The parties came to terms during a mediation last week and have three months to seal the deal.

Cox’s suit, filed in 2004, claimed Houston Police Department brass manipulated the investigation that led to his termination.

Unlike the female officers who claimed sexual harassment, Cox, 62, of Spring, resolved his case out of court. A trial was set for next Monday.

The city appealed a $600,000 jury verdict awarded to Beth Kreuzer in 2005, but a federal appeals court upheld the decision last summer and tacked on another $315,000 in attorneys’ fees.

That case marked the third successful sexual harassment lawsuit won by Houston lawyers Katherine Butler and Margaret Harris on behalf of a female HPD officer.

“I’m glad to see that the city is finally taking responsibility for what happened to Sgt. Cox,” Butler said. “I just wish it hadn’t taken them so long.”

Cox’s lawyer, Andrew Golub, said his client spent six months off the job and was unable to accept lucrative, off-duty work until an arbitrator reinstated him.

Cox, a 35-year veteran, retired from the force in 2006.

Golub declined to say more until the settlement is final.

Lawyers for the city could not be reached for comment.

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