A Ward County deputy is asking the sheriff and state’s attorney to step down.
Deputy Timothy Poston is accusing the Ward County State’s Attorney of harassment and the Sheriff of discrimination.
Jim Olson has been looking into the charges and joins us live now.
There are two separate charges that Timothy Poston leveled at today’s county commission meeting.
One, that Sheriff Bob Barnard discriminated against him because of Poston’s Canadian heritage.
And two, that State’s Attorney Roza Larson touched him inappropriately during a court hearing and made an inappropriate comment to him on another occasion.
Both the sheriff and state’s attorney dispute the claims and an investigation by an outside attorney recommends no actions against either official.
At today’s county commission meeting, Deputy Poston said his sexual harassment claim against Larson was not investigated within the time frame required by law, and that Larson was not put on paid leave while the investigation was conducted.
He says Larson called him to the prosecutor’s table in court for a private conference and put her hand on his leg while talking with him.
The response to his complaint is part of what he called the “Ward County double standard.”
(Timothy Poston, Ward County Deputy) “If it was switched around, a male and female, you’re guaranteed it would be sexual harassment. We can’t have our elected officials harassing people in the courtroom like that, that’s wrong and shouldn’t happen.”
But Larson maintains the Poston’s complaint is in retaliation for his suspension in June for this incident – where the deputy is seen shoving a table into an inmate during a court hearing via interactive video. Larson says she commented that Poston would have been fired for his actions if he worked for her.
Poston was suspended for ten days, five of them without pay, for the incident.
Deputy Poston said he may take the issue to court if he isn’t satisfied with the county commission’s actions in the case.
The commission voted to discuss the issue with its outside counsel.