On Monday, an investigator with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, Leslie Ramsey, filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against Sheriff Mike Blakely and Chief Fred Sloss.
Ramsey has worked at the sheriff's office since September 2007. The lawsuit names Limestone County, the County Commission of Limestone County, Sheriff Blakely and Fred Sloss as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Ramsey began reporting to Sheriff Blakely and Sloss after her previous supervisor's retirement on October 1, 2016.
The suit says that on the evening of January 14, 2017, Ramsey and her boyfriend at the time, Bobby Joe Ruf, visited Sloss at his home. Ramsey claims when she went outside to smoke a cigarette, Sloss followed her and began to touch her against her will. She says she pushed him away and that he then pushed her against a vehicle and asked, "does [Ruf] ever tell you how beautiful you are?”
Ramsey says Sloss told her he'd make her Captain if she consented to his sexual advances, which she says she refused. She says he made another inappropriate comment and that she then left the residence with her boyfriend.
In the lawsuit, Ramsey claims that she was placed under "increased scrutiny" by Sloss after the January 14, 2017 incident. She says he had her followed home on May 19th and 20th of 2017 after Sheriff Blakely’s fund-raising rodeo, which she says did not happen to male officers.
The suit says that on May 22, 2017, Sheriff Blakely called Ramsey and Sloss into his office to reprimand her for her involvement in the rodeo. She says Sheriff Blakely made comments to her, including that she is a "bad apple" and that she needed to see a psychiatrist. She says he also threatened to demote her or to terminate her employment.
Ramsey says she was demoted from investigator to patrol duty after submitting a grievance in 2017 about "the sexual assault and the rodeo reprimand." According to the lawsuit, she filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on November 7, 2017 and was reinstated to her investigator position on February 29, 2018.
Below is a response from the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office:
"Sheriff Blakely, Chief Sloss, and the Limestone County Sheriff's Office have always been proactive in their commitment to treating everyone, including our employees, with equal respect and dignity in every way possible. While we are unable to provide a detailed response at this time on advice of counsel, we want to assure the people of Limestone County that our commitment to equality and providing the best workplace environment possible for everyone remains steadfast."
The lawsuit below contains some graphic language: