A former Catawba County sheriff’s deputy sued a former lieutenant and Sheriff Coy Reid in federal court in Statesville this week, alleging that she was sexually harassed by the lieutenant and the sheriff did nothing about it except fire her.
Stacy Minor, who previously was a Mooresville police officer, says in the lawsuit that Reid moved her to a shift in the same work setting as the man she accused of harassing her.
She said the sheriff eventually fired her in retaliation for her complaints.
On June 25, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in Minor’s favor after she filed a complaint over claims she was sexually harassed by then-sheriff’s lieutenant Joseph Sigmon for more than a year.
According to Minor’s lawsuit in federal court in Statesville, the EEOC concluded that after she complained about her work environment, she “was subjected to adverse terms and conditions of her employment.” The EEOC found “reasonable cause to believe” that a violation of Minor’s civil rights occurred. On Sept. 12, the commission issued a notice that Minor had a right to sue under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Reid said Friday he hasn’t been served with the lawsuit. “I haven’t read it or seen it,” he said, referring questions to County Attorney Debra Bechtel. She also said she hadn’t been served the lawsuit.
Efforts to reach Joe Sigmon were unsuccessful. Minor couldn’t be reached this week, either.
Minor joined the office as a deputy/bailiff in February 2008.
Beginning in 2010, her lawsuit says, Sigmon directed “unwanted attention and behavior” toward her. The lawsuit cites 12 incidents, including an allegation that Sigmon texted her asking “how are the twins?” – referring to her breasts.
In January 2011, he told her he wanted to handcuff her to a chair because she would like it, the lawsuit says.
On Jan. 12, 2011, Minor met with Reid at Reid’s request, the lawsuit says. The sheriff told Minor that Sigmon had told him he’d just been joking with Minor and that she had never told him “no,” according to the suit.
Minor replied that she was a single mother with two children and that she hadn’t reported previous incidents because she feared losing her job, the lawsuit says.
Reid asked if she could continue working with Sigmon and she said, “No, I do not feel safe with him,” the lawsuit says. The sheriff told her to go home until he decided what to do, the lawsuit says.
The suit says Reid transferred Sigmon to the Catawba County Detention Center where Minor worked, keeping Sigmon at his lieutenant’s pay rate but lowering his rank to deputy, the lawsuit says. The sheriff stopped speaking with Minor unless she initiated the conversation, the suit says.
On Nov. 12, she was terminated, the suit says, with a sheriff’s major telling her “Your services are no longer needed.”
Staff Researcher Maria David contributed.
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