West Union officer suing police department

A former West Union Police sergeant who said she was forced to resign in April after filing sexual harassment and retaliation claims against the police chief has filed a civil suit.

Sierra Fox (COURTESY PHOTO)

Sierra Fox is suing the City of West Union, Police Chief Paul Becthold, and City Administrator Nick McIntyre. It alleges that they violated her rights under the Iowa Civil Rights Act via sexual harassment and sex discrimination, along with retaliation after she filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. It was filed in Fayette County district court on Tuesday afternoon.

The lawsuit contains a litany of claims against the defendants. Fox alleges that Becthold made derogatory remarks about her and other women to other West Union Police officers, that he told other officers to worry less about her radio calls where she was asking for assistance, and that he held her to different standards than male officers, among others.

She also claims that her internal complaints were not properly investigated by the city of McIntrye. She alleged that her resignation was forced and the requirement that she return her K9 partner, Xena, were both acts of retaliation against her for filing complaints with the state.

The filing makes claims about the treatment of Xena by the department before Fox was assigned to her. Fox claimed that the dog was underfed and underweight, kept in an improperly-small travel kennel for the size of her, was only let out by Fox and thus frequently soiled herself and her kennel, and that Xena chewed on the plastic kennel so much that her mouth bled.

No response from the plaintiffs has been filed. Fox is asking for a trial by jury in this case. She is being represented by Timmer & Judkins, P.L.L.C. from West Des Moines.

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