Documents detail alleged harassment by Dakota Co. sheriff, deputy - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Documents detail alleged harassment by Dakota Co. sheriff, deputy


DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - Court documents reveal more details of allegations of an improper work environment at the Dakota County, Nebraska jail.

A lawsuit filed in Lincoln, Nebraska... is the third such suit this year... accusing officials in the sheriff's office of sexual harassment, among other allegations.

Eight plaintiffs are named in the lawsuit. According to court documents, the Dakota County Jail was a sexually charged and hostile work environment, where some employees were allegedly rewarded for sexual favors.

This latest lawsuit claims that Dakota County Sheriff James Wagner and Chief Deputy Rodney Herron... pressured female employees into sexual relationships and promoted those who took part in the alleged relationships, while other qualified candidates were passed over.

The plaintiffs... five women and three men... allege that Wagner and Herron created a workplace full of fear... both physical and emotional.

One of the plaintiffs... Diana Moctezuma... acknowledges having an alleged sexual relationship with Herron, along with being physical with him while on the job. Moctezuma claims when she tried to switch shifts away from Herron... that he fired her... but then begged her to come back... which she did. Moctezuma also claims that at some point in the relationship, Herron proposed marriage... but she declined.

The lawsuit also states that Herron has had several sexual relationships with staffers... and has even fathered children of employees.

Another component of the lawsuit is physical abuse.... alleged by two male plaintiffs.

Ronald Fink, Junior worked as a jailer from 2004 until 2006... and says Chief Deputy Herron threw eggs at him, shot him with a pepper ball gun.... usually used for clearing crowds, and threw hand sanitizer in his face.

John Gilles... who still works for Dakota County... says he was also assaulted with hand sanitizer and the pepper ball gun, but claims he was also pepper sprayed by Herron.

Plaintiffs are also claiming instances of racism from Sheriff Wagner. They state that Wagner said "no black people, hispanics, or native Americans" would ever work for him... but used a more derogatory way to describe them.

This is the third in a string of lawsuits against Dakota County. Back in June, jailer Charvette Williams sued, claiming discrimination. And in August, Toni Duncan... a female corrections officer made similar allegations.

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