Maryland, sheriff settle deputy's sex harassment suit

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 12:44 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former Maryland sheriff's deputy who alleged sexual harassment at work will get $250,000 under a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, the state and the sheriff's office, the department said on Thursday.

The Queen Anne's County sheriff's deputy, Kristy Murphy-Taylor, alleged in a federal lawsuit that she had undergone unwanted groping by supervisors, including the brother of Sheriff Gary Hofmann, and had been fired when she complained about it.

As part of the settlement, Maryland and the sheriff's office on the state's Eastern Shore agreed to revise sexual harassment policies and how complaints about harassment and retaliation are handled, the statement said.

The Maryland State Police will oversee sexual harassment complaints involving the sheriff's office. Murphy-Taylor will also get $250,000 in damages from the state, the statement said.

Murphy-Taylor and her husband filed suit in December 2012, and the Justice Department intervened in February 2013. The settlement is subject to approval by a judge.

Murphy-Taylor received $620,000 in damages as part of a settlement with Queen Anne's County in May 2014. The county agreed to provide oversight for handling sexual harassment complaints made by sheriff's office employees.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Eric Beech)