The state of Missouri will pay a former female prison guard $800,000 to settle a sexual harassment case. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced the pay-out this week.
Missouri Department of Corrections Officer Tina Gallego sued the department alleging that she was sexually harassed and poisoned by male officers when she worked at the Kansas City Re-entry Center. After returning to work following an internal investigation of the allegations, Gallego said her can of soda had been tampered with, resulting in her vomiting and breaking out in a severe rash, reports KMOV News.
Gallego alleged in her lawsuit that she was targeted in 2016 after she testified in court on behalf of a co-worker about harassment and discrimination. Gallego’s co-worker, Deborah Hesse, received a settlement of $1.92 million in that case.
The state of Missouri has paid more than $52 million in five years to settle sexual harassment cases throughout all of its state agencies. There are 21 state prisons in Missouri.
Anne Precythe is the Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, Precythe has moved to replace a number of top administrators in the state’s central office and 21 prisons. In a statement to the Corrections House Committee Precythe said:
“We’re going to take all complaints seriously and we’re going to look into them. That, to me, is what really gets to creating a safe environment.”
In a separate case $320,000 was paid to a female Missouri corrections guard regarding a sexual assault suit where her supervisors sexually assaulted her.
Reports show that the Missouri Department of Corrections has a culture of assaulting and sexually harassing guards. Kansas City lawyer Ann Molloy was hired by the department to uncover and investigate complaints and allegations.