A Williamson County man who anonymously sent a chocolate candy bar in the shape of a penis to a McLennan County Sheriff’s Office employee found himself jailed and now has a pending harassment case.
Thinking he was pranking a romantic rival, the gag turned out to be on Thomas Roy Gourneau, 43, of Cedar Hill, who now is looking at up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Gourneau’s attorney, Cody Cleveland, cannot believe the dispute between Gourneau and Tracy Chance ever reached the level of a criminal case and said he thinks the only reason it was pursued is because Chance works in law enforcement.
“I question whether if I or somebody not involved in law enforcement had called 911 and said we had a matter that needed to be investigated and told them I had received a chocolate candy bar in the shape of a penis, how long I would be sitting before they arrived at my office or my house to investigate that crime,” Cleveland said. “I wonder whether or not there would be any kind of follow-up as far as a warrant issued or an arrest made.
“I just think because this guy works for the sheriff’s office and it got delivered to him at the sheriff’s office that it was easy for him to walk across the hall and get a detective to look into the case. That’s the reason they went forward.”
Chance was a grant coordinator for the sheriff’s office before leaving that job to move out of Waco. He has since returned and now works as a jailer, McLennan County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy David Kilcrease said.
The case was not pursued simply because of the chocolate bar shaped like male genitalia, Kilcrease said. Gourneau dated Chance’s ex-wife, and the men have had a long history of animosity between them, including troubling emails from Gourneau to Chance.
“I don’t know all the ins and outs and I’m not getting into the ins and outs of it,” Kilcrease said. “I just know there is something going on that is harassing in nature. But we treated this case just like any other case. If they are being harassed and there is a method to stop the harassment, we will handle it. If it is a violation of the law and there is a method to get a remedy, then we will provide that remedy. Any citizen who has a complaint, we will talk to. And if they have a viable complaint, we will investigate it and forward it to the district attorney’s office.”
The last straw
A district attorney’s office spokesman who reviewed the case said there appears to be a “long history of improper communication with the victim” and that sending the chocolate penis seems to have represented the last straw for Chance.
Gourneau sent the box with the chocolate male genitalia anonymously to Chance at the sheriff’s office in December 2017. After an investigation that included subpoenaing Gourneau’s bank and credit card records, Detective Michael Miller obtained an arrest warrant charging Gourneau with Class B misdemeanor harassment in August 2018. Gourneau was arrested in December 2018 and remains free after posting $2,500 bond.
The complaint against Gourneau said he “with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass” Chance initiated “communication with the complainant, and in the course of the communication, make an obscene comment or suggestion, namely the defendant mailed a package to Tracy Chance containing a message suggesting that he engage in fellatio.”
Sheriff’s office reports indicate that the property seized is “chocolate candy.”
Cleveland said Gourneau is not interested in entering the DA’s office pretrial diversion program or working out a plea deal. His client wants to take this case to court, Cleveland said.
“They are going to have to prove that he intended to harass him or annoy him or embarrass him,” he said. “(Chance) is a victim. He is due his day in court. He is claiming he was victimized. So he gets to come in and explain to a jury that this candy bar annoyed him or alarmed him or harassed him.
Waste of time
“Was it the size of it? Was it that it was chocolate and he prefers vanilla? I don’t know, but he will get to tell the jury and explain to them why he feels like this is a crime. I think a jury is going to think this is a complete waste of their time. If there has been other harassment, he isn’t charged with that. They have charged him with sending a candy bar.”
No trial date has been set in the case.