A sergeant in a sheriff’s department in northwest Oregon who alerted authorities to the poor performance of a detective in the department filed a $1.6 million lawsuit alleging supervisors in the department created a hostile work environment after he reported his concerns.
The officer, Sgt. Matt Swanson, filed the lawsuit in early April in Oregon state court and named defendants as the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Craig Roberts and Undersheriff Matt Ellington. In the lawsuit documents, Sgt. Swanson alleges he was harassed and retaliated against after attempting to initiate an investigation into Detective Jeff Green in 2015.
Green pleaded guilty in 2017 to two counts of failure to investigate child abuse reports. He retired in 2015. Another employee at the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Joel Manley, is also reported to have warned the agency of plans of his own to file a lawsuit on the grounds of harassment and retaliation.
Manley also retired recently, and alleges he was harassed by coworkers at the department for his refusal to take part in an inappropriate photoshoot at the courthouse. He also claims frequent complaints about a “boys club” environment within the office routinely fell on deaf ears.
Swanson alleges multiple high-ranking officials at the Sheriff’s Office instructed him to revise the internal complaint he made against Green so it would not be as “easily tracked.” The officials were anxious the complaint would “make them look bad.” However, Swanson determined the instructions to be unethical and illegal.
In response, the officials attempted to coerce him into covering up their involvement, using bullying tactics to do so.
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