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County may pay $375,500 in Deatrick settlement


June 17, 2009 | 08:33 AM

Pending approval from United States Southern District Chief Judge David F. Hamilton, Harrison County has agreed to pay $375,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by two women who accused Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick of sexual harassment and later of retaliation after they filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Dispatcher Deana Decker and former dispatcher Melissa Graham will each receive more than $187,000.

"I can say that my clients are satisfied with the settlement," their attorney, Charles W. Miller, said yesterday. "Several factors played into the total they chose to settle for. It's our belief Mr. Deatrick will be indicted, and that trial may last a year. Then, you are looking at least one round of appeals that could take a year, so that's at least two years down the road assuming everything started today.

"There's an emotional toll on my clients and their families, and they believed this was their best course of action. I believe there's a price for peace."

The consent decree, filed Monday, was submitted by Jay D. Adelstein, senior trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice; Elizabeth Knight, Deatrick's attorney in his official capacity as sheriff; and Jeremy M. Dilts, counsel for the Harrison County Commissioners and Harrison County Council.

The decree says the commissioners, council and Deatrick "expressly deny any civil or criminal wrongdoing or liability or that they discriminated against Deanna Decker or Melissa Graham in violation of Title VII " and "The parties, desiring to avoid protracted and unnecessary litigation, also accept this Consent Decree as final on the issues "

Title VII, which is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion. It also prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the Civil Rights Act.

In addition to the settlement, to be paid by check and photocopies of the checks sent to Adelstein within 21 days of payment to Decker and Graham, all employees of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department are to take part in an EEO seminar that shall be no less than two hours of instruction and cover facts of the decree, sex discrimination, federal and state laws to the sheriff and sheriff's department rules and regulations regarding sex discrimination and retaliation, responsibilities of the sheriff and supervisors in preventing sex discrimination and how and to whom an individual may file a complaint concerning sex discrimination and/or retaliation.

An EEO trainer will be on hand at the seminars. The first seminar is to be conducted within three months of the date of the decree, then two additional seminars are to be held, in September 2010 and May 2011. A registry of attendance for each seminar is to be taken and provided to the U.S. Department of Justice together with a list of all personnel employed by the sheriff's department.

The settlement is separate from a criminal investigation by Nancy Jacobs, a special prosecutor assigned to the case.

On June 11, 2008 — a month after filing their initial complaint with the EEOC — Miller filed a suit on behalf of his clients, with the women seeking judgment "in an amount sufficient to fully compensate the plaintiffs for their respective damages," as well as punitive damages, legal fees and a trial by jury. The suit sought $6.25 million in damages for each woman if the suit went to trial; and that they would settle for $2.5 million for Decker and $2 million for Graham.

The suit named Deatrick, current county commissioners James E. Goldman and Terry Miller and former county commissioners J.R. Eckart and Jim Heitkemper as defendants.

The suit said Goldman, Eckart, Miller and Heitkemper were named because, in their official capacity, they failed to properly maintain the Harrison County Jail in a safe condition for employees due to their "respective refusal to supervise and/or control the conduct and actions of Deatrick" and other department employees.

The county paid $55,000 in 2007 to settle four other civil-rights lawsuits filed by former sheriff's department employees. The payment was in the form of a deductible, Auditor Pat Wolfe said.

  1. print email
    $375,500.00 = How many more road officers?
    June 17, 2009 | 10:04 AM

    Shame, it states: The decree says the commissioners, council and Deatrick "expressly deny any civil or criminal wrongdoing or liability or that they discriminated against Deanna Decker or Melissa Graham in violation of Title VII ".

    If your innocent, fight it and put more officers on the road. If not innocent, and being there is a settlement, to me at least points to guilt, no matter how the words spin it, then clear the smokescreen, set aside the threats, and let someone else put some integrity back in the office.

    It is, what it is.......
  2. print email
    Deatrick
    June 17, 2009 | 10:31 AM

    It is a shame that the sheriff himself does not have to personally pay the settlement ... I suppose it is fitting for an elected official to ignore the oath of office and run a dept. on the basis of fear and intimidation.

  3. print email
    June 17, 2009 | 10:45 AM

    wow, who pays that? Deatrick uh no us the taxpayers.
    It is time for him to go!

  4. print email
    Good Job
    June 17, 2009 | 11:40 AM

    Think of all the money he saved us by settling the case. He could have run up $375,501 in legal fees.

    Straight Shooter
  5. print email
    Deatrick
    June 17, 2009 | 12:21 PM

    this is a down right disgrace, we the taxpayers have to pay for something he did. as much money as he makes, he should be made to pay this, what punishment does he get from it? he needs to step down. Here it is budget time for the county and all the county offices will have their budgets wacked anyway, I am sure this won't help the rainy day funds any.

    Vicki Johnson
  6. print email
    June 17, 2009 | 02:30 PM

    Yea tax payers, guess the county will have to use more of the schools riverboat money to pay for this. I'm not saying the women should get compensated, but tax payers shouldnt have to pay. The women are just paying themselves, wheres the punishment for Deatrick? Bet hes on staff and still getting paid too.

  7. print email
    Settlement
    June 17, 2009 | 02:38 PM

    I think the girls did the right thing by accepting the settlement offered. It took 2 years to get to that point, if they would have waited til a trial ... He needs to be out of office for good!!

  8. print email
    June 17, 2009 | 03:57 PM

    i think technically insurance pays the full amount and not the taxpayers.

  9. print email
    June 17, 2009 | 10:05 PM

    Why have the Commissioners and Council members not done more to have Deatrick removed? I realize he's an elected official. However, can't we have an election to remove him? If Deatrick was a decent person, he'd step done and stop costing the taxpayers and the people that elected him so much money. Almost 1/2 million dollars in two years is ridiculous. I guess the council and commissioners feel the have money to waste. Someone needs to step up and seriously look into having this man removed from office.

  10. print email
    June 17, 2009 | 11:27 PM

    what is it going to take to get Deatrick out of the sheriff position? I don't know what he could do after this job. I wouldn't hire him to walk my dog.

    disgusted
  11. print email
    EEOC Training
    June 18, 2009 | 08:03 AM

    Excuse me, but the Sheriff's Dept is only a part of the Harrison County employee base; why isn't the training mandated to the main employer, not just a department? Seems to me another way to get by doing the minimum. this county needs an independent HR officer ... Are the commissioners mandated to partake of this training too? They are paid employees as well, even if elected.

  12. print email
    WE ALL KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN
    June 18, 2009 | 08:21 AM

    IN CASE NOBODY WHO IS UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT, JUST REMEMBER. THERE WERE SEVERAL PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE SAME BASIC SITUATION SOME TIME AGO, WITH THE SAME SHERIFF, MONEY PAID OUT AND WE TRIED TO MAKE YOU-ALL LISTEN, IT WASN'T GONG TO CHANGE. WELL IT DIDN'T CHANGE AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. NO, THE COUNTY ISN'T GOING TO PAY THE WHOLE AMOUNT, JUST THEIR CO-PAY AND I THINK THAT MAY BE SOMETHING LIKE 5000.00, BUT THE INSURANCE CO WILL, AND THE COUNTY PAYS THE PREMIUM, SO IS THAT GOING TO GO UP??? AND MYSELF, I DON'T THINK IT IS OVER FOR THE "POOR" SHERIFF. THERE IS STILL THE CRIMINAL CHARGES AND THE FEDERAL CASE TO SETTLE. IF ANYTHING HAPPENS WITH THAT I THINK HE WILL BE LIABLE HIMSELF, NOT THE COUNTY ...

    PAST EMPLOYEE AND GLAD TO BE GONE!!
  13. print email
    June 18, 2009 | 08:44 AM

    The insurance company may pay the settlement, but this will cause the premiums to go up & the tax-payers will be hit for the increase in the premiums. How many years will the increase in premiums last?

  14. print email
    Freedom of speech and editing of my comment
    June 18, 2009 | 08:45 AM

    You know posting my opinion here on this site is protected under The First Amendment of The Constitution of the US, there is NO reason for the Democrat to edit my comment when its valid and politically correct. This paper obviously only prints what it feels it likes. Another "conflict of interest".

    Maybe I should consider contacting my attorney for your disregard of my rights Corydon Democrat! Who is the responsible person for the editing- they are also liable.

    Maybe this is Iran- are you going to shut down the internet too? How about just your site!

    By the way, I am copying these posts as I make them to prove your editing.

    Sickened by another county entity trampling on p
  15. print email
    June 18, 2009 | 09:03 AM

    He's not sitting in jail -- and can't be removed from office -- because he hasn't been charged with a crime. As of right now there are only accusations. I think if the special prosecutor charges him with a crime things will start happening.


  16. print email
    Attn: Sickened
    June 18, 2009 | 11:17 AM

    Your posting here is *not* protected under the First Amendment of The Constitution. The Corydon Democrat is a private business and they have the right to edit as they see fit. It may violate the spirit of journalistic ethics and integrity, but it does *not* violate the First Amendment. And for those who want to know why? The Constitution and Bill of Rights protect you from interference of your speech by *THE GOVERNMENT*. Now if the Commissioners were editing your submission, then yeah, you have a gripe. Rights protect us from the government; laws protect us from each other.

    Angela Beaver
  17. print email
    The First Amendment of The Constitution of the US.
    June 18, 2009 | 11:53 AM

    From my experience and my opinion freedom of speech is only when you say something everyone wants to hear. If someone doesnt agree with it, they dont post it here.

    US citizen
  18. print email
    Make deatrick pay it
    June 18, 2009 | 01:37 PM

    The tax payers of this county now have to pay this settlement, I think the same tax payers should sue deatrick to get our hard earned tax money back!!!! Write this paper and let them know how you all feel about this. please, we all need to stand up for our rights and make (Deatrick) pay the bill.

    Mr. Tax Payer
  19. print email
    Deatrick Needs to Go
    June 18, 2009 | 07:22 PM

    I moved to this community several years ago because I thought this would be a nice place to raise my family. It's been nothing but taxpayers paying the price from some home grown sheriff ... I understand he is an elected official, but that doesn't mean we should have to pay the price. It's time for this man to go. Period.

    Concerned Citzen
  20. print email
    Fellow voters-
    June 18, 2009 | 08:29 PM

    Please remember all of this ridiculous goings-ons the next time you vote ...

    its almost 2010 not 1910
  21. print email
    Mike Deatrick
    June 19, 2009 | 06:54 AM

    I guess these girls are satisfied with their ... settlement. They have received attention, caused drama, caused mental and physical anguish, acted the victim,and not had to prove a thing to back these alligations ... People of Harrison County, think out of the box ... I think that Mike Deatrick should turn around and sue these girls for slander. Who knows, maybe he will end up with that 375,000. Wouldn't that be justice done.

    Mike Deatrick Supporter
  22. print email
    Deatrick
    June 19, 2009 | 07:07 AM

    Well, now that this lawsuit is over with, I think the next one should be Mike Deatrick sueing the county to reclaim his reputation that has been damaged by these alligations. I have one bit of advice for Mike Deatrick--sue for more than $375,500 ... Sue for pain and suffering.

  23. print email
    DECENT MAN?????
    June 19, 2009 | 07:11 AM

    ... THOSE GIRLS DESERVE SO MUCH MORE.THINK HOW HUMILIATING IT HAS BEEN TO HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD HOW HE VIOLATED AND DEGRADED THEM.AND I DO MEAN THE WORLD.ANYONE IN THE UNITED STATES CAN READ ALL ABOUT THE SHERIFF JUST BY PUTTING HIS NAME IN GOOGLE ... THANK GOD AND THE COMMISSSIONERS THAT THE GIRLS IN DISPATCH ARE NO LONGER UNDER HIS CONTROL ... I BELIEVE YOU WILL GET ALL YOU DESERVE.GOOD THING I AM NOT THE ONE PASSING JUDGEMENT ON YOU.


    STILL AN EMPLOYEE NO THANKS TO THE SHERIFF
  24. print email
    Mike Deatrick
    June 19, 2009 | 07:36 AM

    I can't believe the county is settling with these two women ... Alligations from these two women have been spread all over. Does anyone not think if they had hard evidence we would of not seen it by now ...

  25. print email
    CRIMINAL CHARGES
    June 19, 2009 | 07:55 AM

    ... AND YES HE SHOULD PAY NOT THE COUNTY

  26. print email
    OUTSIDE THE BOX
    June 19, 2009 | 09:44 AM

    THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTY INCAPIBLE OF THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX. DO PEOPLE REALLY THINK THESE WOMEN WOULD BE RECEIVING A SETTLEMENT, WHICH AS OF YET HASN'T BEEN APPROVED BY A JUDGE, IF THERE WASN'T PROOF OF MISCONDUCT BY MR DEATRICK ... AS FAR AS EVIDENCE YOU FORGET THERE ARE STILL CRIMINAL CHARGES BEING CONSIDERED ... WE AS CITIZENS CAN ONLY HOPE THAT WHEN ALL THE DUST SETTLE'S THERE WILL BE NEW LEGISLATURE THAT PROHIBS A SHERIFF IN THIS COUNTY OR ANY COUNTY IN THE STATE OF INDIANA FROM HAVING MORE POWER THAN THE COUNTY GOVERNMENT. YOU KEEP ASKING WHY COUNTY GOVERNMENT HASN'T REMOVED HIM FROM OFFICE, THEY DON'T HAVE THE POWER TO DO SO ...

    WAITING FOR THE DUST TO SETTLE!!!!!!
  27. print email
    The settlement means nothing
    June 19, 2009 | 10:30 AM

    Listen folks, the settlement means simply that the patries involved do not want to wait for a trial resolution. It does not admit guilt. It means collectively it would most likely be cheaper to settle out of court than run up legal fees going to court. It is a calculated decision, and the county insurance company pays.

    The Sheriff has admitted no guilt, and denies all of the allegations. I for one believe him. We have seen no proof otherwise. This is a man who has bent over backwards to help many in this county, and he is rewarded by mob justice in the form of slanderous statements and defamation of character. It is my greatest hope that you the people remember your own words when you are in need, or unjustly accused.

    He always has and always will have my support. The only way to change that would be a criminal conviction. I do not see that happening. So the rest of you should spend your time doing something constructive, not destructive like tearing down a good and just man. I have never seen anything but good and kindness from him, and I have spent a lot of time with him in the past. He inspires me to do more than I have for the county. never give in Mike.

    A staunch supporter in Elizabeth - JAC
  28. print email
    Criminal Charges
    June 19, 2009 | 11:34 AM

    Mr. Deatrick SHOULD be the one who pays for this settlement! Not the tax payers! Should have been removed from officer AFTER the first time the County Paid for a settlement on a law suit ... Mr. Deatrick needs to be OUT OF OFFICE! Sure wish something could be done to get him out. Maybe soon something will be done.

    Thoroughly Discusted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  29. print email
    EEOC Training
    June 19, 2009 | 02:17 PM

    you can have all the training necessary, but if the EMPLOYEES and the OFFICERS continue to disreguard the rules then the commissioners have wasted county money again and more law suits!!!!!!! THIRD TRAINING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. print email
    Deatrick needs to be out!!!
    June 19, 2009 | 02:24 PM

    I for one think he should pay. I do believe these women ...

  31. print email
    Opinion
    June 19, 2009 | 03:48 PM

    I think if this is an open forum all comments that are not considered indecent should be printed. It is good to hear the whole story.

    **Glad u moved out of this county**
  32. print email
    "Who Knows"
    June 20, 2009 | 09:57 AM

    Who really knows what happened. It's one person's word against another's. I believe that "you reap what you sow" in this world and whoever is lying will get what's coming to them in one form or another. Leave it all in the hands of Him who is just.

    One who has hope
  33. print email
    TO ALL DEATRICK SUPPORTERS
    June 21, 2009 | 10:24 AM

    For all the people who support Deatrick you should pay along with Deatrick you all are sick in the head if you think he is innocent

    Congrats to the ladies for their WIN they desirve it

  34. print email
    June 25, 2009 | 09:54 AM

    Yes the Sheriff has left a bad taste in the county ... We can not continue to vote the GOOD OL BOY into office. Get someone that is from the out side of the department to change things.

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