MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — A former Mountain Home Police Officer claims she was sexually harassed by another officer.
According to a tort claim filed on behalf of the former officer, who resigned from her position in October, she could file a lawsuit seeking $500,000 in damages. The claim is against the Mountain Home Police Department for sexual harassment, retaliation, and emotional distress. The tort claim is not dated.
A tort claim is not the same as a lawsuit -- it's a notice someone believes a wrong has been committed and is preserving a right to sue.
KTVB has been unable to independently confirm her claims, but the former officer says she was sexually harassed by a then corporal, now sergeant, by way of sexual innuendos and highly inappropriate sexual comments about her new glasses.
KTVB is not naming the parties due to the sensitive nature of the claim.
The former officer further claims that at one point, the Corporal attempted to inappropriately touch her when assisting her with a flat tire on a department vehicle. She said during the encounter, the Corporal subsequently stated something along the lines of, “I was just going to grab a handful.”
She claims the harassment continued for several months until she filed a sexual harassment claim with the Mountain Home Police Department.
The tort claim says the department’s investigation couldn’t find enough proof of her claims, but that she was put back on a work rotation with the officer she says harassed her.
The former officer further claims that after filing her complaint and up until she resigned, she was subjected to acts of retaliation. She says she endured constant unfair and unequal treatment and verbal harassment. She also claims she was publicly reprimanded over the work radio and in the office for the same actions performed by other officers who were not reprimanded. One example of retaliation, she says, was when she was given a document warning her for not being able to attend a scheduled training due to her daughter being sick.
The former officer says she also learned that the Corporal continued to discuss her complaint with coworkers, and when she reported as much, she was told by a supervisor that she would be written up if she talked about the sexual harassment incident or the investigation.
Mountain Home’s Chief of Police at the time, Scott Conner, was "un-appointed" on Oct. 26th, five days after the former officer’s last day. Mayor Rich Sykes said of Chief Conner’s removal, "While we thank him for his service to the city, the city believes a new direction is needed in the leadership of the Mountain Home Police Department." It is unclear if the chief’s dismissal was related to these harassment claims.
KTVB reached out for comment on the tort claim to Mayor Rich Sykes and the new Mountain Home Chief of Police, Jonathan Thompson.
Sykes said in an email, “As with any legal/tort claim the city cannot discuss anything that has to do with a pending litigation.”
The attorneys representing the former officer also declined to comment.