Sexual harassment lawsuit against Alcorn sheriff reinstated

news_court_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – A former Alcorn County employee last week reinstated her sexual harassment lawsuit against the sheriff in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Debra Brown stopped proceedings in the suit brought by former sheriff’s department employee Michelle Cohoon-Loyd against Sheriff Charles Rinehart in April after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it had issued Cohoon-Loyd a right to sue letter in error.

Brown lifted her stay on proceedings on May 14 and authorized Cohoon-Loyd to file an amended complaint in the case by July 21.

Cohoon-Loyd filed the original lawsuit in February after she received the first EEOC notice. Rather than disposing of the case itself, EEOC’s letter said that the case should have been referred to the Justice Department, which handles all local and state government entities.

Cohoon-Loyd had worked in the sheriff’s office for about six years, until Aug. 23, 2012, as administrative assistant to the sheriff.

The complaint by Cahoon-Loyd was filed in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen by Corinth attorney Danny Lowrey. However, she is being represented by her Houston, Texas-based brother-in-law, attorney John Bruster “Bruse” Loyd, who has received Mississippi licensure to handle the case.

Her lawsuit, which is one side of a legal issue, claims that Rinehart – her direct supervisor – on two specific occasions in June 2012 and August 2012, tried to kiss her by force and otherwise sexually harassed her, subjected her to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliated against her in the workplace.

Cohoon-Loyd requested a jury trial and award of attorney fees, expert fees, court costs, damages and other relief as the jury may decide.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com