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Veteran Limestone County Sheriff's Office investigator's termination upheld by county commission

Leslie Ramsey filed a lawsuit in January, claiming she was sexually assaulted by a coworker.

Posted: Nov 19, 2019 12:10 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2019 7:12 AM

A Limestone County Sheriff’s Office investigator’s appeal after she was fired was denied by the county commission on Tuesday, according to Phil Defatta, Leslie Ramsey’s attorney.

The Limestone County Commission affirmed the sheriff's decision to fire Ramsey, he said. Her attorney said no reason was given by the commission.

Leslie Ramsey

Ramsey shared with WAAY 31 back in September, she was fired towards the end of the month, but criminally indicted Sheriff Mike Blakely gave no reason for her termination, she said.

WAAY 31 is working to learn which commissioners voted for or against terminating Ramsey. The WAAY 31 I-TEAM uncovered in August that Steve Turner, District 2 Commissioner, co-owns a race horse with Sheriff Blakely and retired Deputy Johnny McDonald. The financial filings disclose the horse has won more than $50,000 since the three men bought it in 2017. It's unclear if Turner voted.

Ramsey filed a federal lawsuit back in January. The lawsuit claims she was sexually assaulted by Chief Deputy Fred Sloss.

In her lawsuit, Ramsey accuses Sloss of sexually assaulting her outside his house in January of 2017 after he allegedly ran his hand across her chest and crotch, demanding she show him her breasts. Ramsey claims Sloss promised to promote her to captain if she followed his sexual advances.

The lawsuit states in May of 2017, Ramsey accused Sloss of having her be followed after Sheriff Blakely held his yearly rodeo fundraiser. The lawsuit claims that just days later, Sheriff Blakely punished her unfairly. After she filed a grievance about sexual assault and unfair treatment, Ramsey claims the sheriff demoted her and continued to punish her.

Ramsey has been with the department since 2007 and said she didn't face any problems until Sloss was promoted to chief deputy in 2016.

In her lawsuit, Ramsey says she filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in November of 2017 after the demotion, and she was reinstated to her position as investigator in February of 2018.

Jason Black, Limestone County District 3 Commissioner, shared with WAAY 31 in September that Sheriff Blakely is able to fire any employee for any reason, or no reason at all.

Ramsey can also file a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to Black. It's unclear if Ramsey will appeal to the EEOC.

Ramsey's sexual assault case is scheduled for trial in September 2020.

WAAY 31 requested to obtain Ramsey's personnel file along with Sheriff Blakely's and Fred Sloss' personnel files. The request was denied by Pam Carter, county administrator.

Carter stated, "the files contain sensitive personnel and personal information, and the persons, along with the County Commission, are parties to ongoing litigation concerning Ms. Ramsey's employment in the Limestone County Sheriff's Office."

Blakely is currently under indictment on 13 charges that cover a range of conduct over multiple years. None are thought to be linked to Ramsey’s lawsuit.

Specifically, the first four counts charge Blakely with four separate thefts from his campaign account that total $11,000.

Counts five through 10 charge Blakley with theft or ethics charges stemming from his illegally taking money from Limestone County funds, including from the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Fund.

Count 11 charges Blakely with soliciting a $1,000 wire transfer from a subordinate other than in the ordinary course of business. Finally, counts 12 and 13 charge Blakely with using his official position or office to acquire interest-free loans.

Specifically, count 12 charges Blakely with using his official position or office to obtain interest-free loans in the form of a $50,000 cashier’s check and/or a $22,189.68 credit.

Count 13 charges Blakely with using his official position or office to obtain interest-free loans by taking money from a safe that was used to store the Limestone County inmates’ personal funds.

Blakely continues to serve as the sheriff.

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