Second civil lawsuit alleging misconduct, sexual harassment filed against Ralls County sheriff

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Ralls County Sheriff Brad Stinson

RALLS COUNTY, Mo. — Former Ralls County Lt. Gloria Jennings filed a civil lawsuit on May 1 alleging misconduct, sexual harassment and retaliation by Ralls County Sheriff Brad Stinson.

Jennings alleges Stinson and other members of Ralls County Sheriff’s Department retaliated against her by moving her office, isolating her from other coworkers and initiating an administrative action against her without justification. It resulted in her termination from the department on May 19, 2022.

The lawsuit further alleges Stinson and the other members of the Ralls County Sheriff’s Department, violated the Missouri Human Rights Act, the “State Whistleblower Protection Act” and the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights” when she received retaliation after reporting Stinson’s misconduct.

Jennings is requesting the court void all actions taken by Ralls County against her and reinstate her to her previous position with back pay, including raises and accrued interest from May 19, 2022.

She also is asking for $25,000 in compensatory damages, including lost wages and benefits, emotional distress and injury to her reputation, along with court costs and attorney’s fees. 

Mark Braden, another former lieutenant in the Ralls County Sheriff’s Department, filed a civil lawsuit against the county on Feb. 20. He also alleged Stinson sexually harassed Jennings. Braden also claimed he faced retaliation after reporting the misconduct.

Braden and Jennings were the only two criminal investigators and shared an office space while employed by the Ralls County Sheriff’s Department. Jennings was Braden’s immediate supervisor.   

Braden and Jennings allege Stinson began paying special attention and showing favoritism to her in 2021 and continued into early 2022. Examples of favoritism were taking her out for breakfast and refueling and washing her patrol vehicle without doing the same for any other employees. 

Stinson allegedly kept Jennings after work without reason to flirt with her. The petition also states Stinson asked Braden to leave his shared office with Jennings to be alone with her.

Stinson also allegedly copied photographs from Jennings’ personal Facebook page and uploaded her family pictures to Jennings’ assigned work computer for a screensaver.

The petition alleges Stinson touched Jennings several times at work by placing a hand on her back or his arm around her. 

Stinson allegedly told Jennings on Feb. 6, 2022, that he wanted a relationship with her. According to the petition, Jennings rejected his advances. 

Stinson allegedly gave Jennings a Valentine’s Day card and chocolates around Feb. 14, 2022. Before that, Jennings had allegedly asked Stinson to stop giving her special attention.

Braden reported on Feb. 17, 2022, to Ralls County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Chris Flynn he had observed Stinson making sexual advances toward Jennings. He also made charges of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

Jennings’ and Braden’s petitions allege Stinson became “cold and stern” to Braden after the report. They also allege Stinson instructed Braden to “ignore what Mr. Braden had heard Sheriff Stinson say to Ms. Jennings.”  

Stinson allegedly admitted to Jennings’ husband on March 9, 2022, that he loved Jennings. Jennings reported Stinson’s misconduct to the Ralls County Commission the next day.

The Ralls County Commission brought forth an investigation regarding the misconduct.

Jennings met with an outside investigator on March 17, 2022. Jennings met in-person with Richard Adair, Fraternal Order of Police lodge president on March 24, 2022, to report sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by Stinson.

The petition alleges Jennings was subjected to increased scrutiny and targeted for discipline and investigation after she made the report. She claims other employees were told not to talk to her.

An investigation began April 20, 2022, into Jennings conduct to determine if she violated policy and should be subjected to disciplinary action. 

Stinson and Flynn allegedly initiated meetings with Jennings on May 13 and May 19, 2022, to question her about her conduct. She answered some questions but declined to answer others about her meeting with Adair.

Braden received a letter on May 17, 2022, explaining the reasons for his termination were insubordination or failing to cooperate with an employment investigation upon direct order of the sheriff, as well as leaving the county during his work hours before his shift was over. Braden claimed in the petition filed on his behalf that he did not leave the county during his work shift.

Jennings was fired May 19, 2022, for insubordination, for not following orders from a supervisor and leaving the county during work hours before her shift was completed. Jennings requested a hearing, which took place on June 17, 2022.

Stinson and Flynn said during the hearing Jennings was terminated because she left the county during her shift on a few occasions between March 2022 and May 2022. Stinson and Flynn also said Jennings was terminated because she met with Adair and refused to answer certain questions during the May 19, 2022 meeting.

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