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Special prosecutor requested in harassment case against sheriff

After looking through an investigation report turned in by Indiana State Police, Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd filed a motion yesterday morning (Tuesday) for a special prosecutor to be appointed in a sexual harassment case involving Harrison County Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick.
The ISP report was given to Byrd Monday afternoon.
‘After reading through it, and considering the working relationship my office has with the sheriff’s department and my relationship to the sheriff, I decided to go ahead and file the motion for the special prosecutor,’ Byrd said.
Two female employees of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. sued the sheriff, the three current county commissioners and a past county commissioner in federal court in June.
Deana Decker and Melissa Graham have also filed violations with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and, in May, they filed written complaints with Byrd’s office alleging possible criminal violations by Deatrick, who is in the middle of his second term in office.
The county paid $55,000 last fall to settle four other civil-rights lawsuits filed by former sheriff’s department employees.
The federal lawsuit says on numerous occasions from July 2006 to August 2007 the sheriff would request that Decker come to his office to discuss employment-related matters. After she came into his office, Deatrick would allegedly force himself on her in an attempt to kiss her breasts, force his hand down her clothing and ‘further ordered her to remain quiet’ as he engaged in the conduct.
Decker contends Deatrick would confine her between his office door, with his foot pressed against the door, his desk and Deatrick’s body in an effort to kiss her breasts and touch her.
In June 2007, the suit says, Graham had a similar incident where Graham came into Deatrick’s office to discuss employment-related matters. After she came into his office, Deatrick allegedly attempted to lift her shirt to expose her breasts, pinning her against the door as he tried to do so.
Byrd said Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis will likely appoint the special prosecutor within a couple of weeks.