Sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Madison County sheriff

Sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Madison County sheriff

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A sexual harassment lawsuit has been filed against Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning, the County Commission and county personnel officials.

This is the 5th sexual harassment lawsuit involving the the sheriff’s office filed in the last 15 months.

[READ MORE: Former employee suing several members of Madison County Sheriff’s Office]

This new suit was filed by deputy Sonya Massey who says she was “sexually assaulted in a sexual manner by her supervisor.” According to the suit, it happened in July 2015.

Originally, she didn’t speak up. But after her case was mentioned in other lawsuits, she says she was forced to relive her experience, which the claim says was met with humiliation, retaliation and threats.

Massey says she’s calling for an end to what she called the “men do what men do” workplace environment in the department. She says she has witnessed unwelcome and often offensive behavior by male employees toward women.. The lawsuit alleges this behavior is customary and acceptable by Dorning and Madison County.

The lawsuit claims Massey talked to Madison County personnel director Jermie Howell in April. Howell allegedly expressed disbelief in her supervisor’s behavior, but goes on to allege Massey never heard from Howell again about her complaint.

Massey’s lawsuit requests changes be made to protect herself and other female employees from "unlawlful polices, practices, customs and procedures."

She is asking for damages and further training on harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The sheriff’s office referred media to the county attorney for comment.

Neither the county attorney nor Massey has responded to WAFF 48 News.

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