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Former Upshur County jailer sues county, sheriff's office

By Christina Lane
June 4, 2011 at 10 p.m.

Summons were issued Friday to Upshur County and two of its employees after a federal lawsuit was filed by a former jailer, according to the Eastern District of Texas.

Former employee John Scott Rose and his wife, Crystal Rose, are suing Upshur County and sheriff's office employees Landon Burleson and Terry Carter for retaliation and violating the Roses' Fourth Amendment rights. The lawsuit states John Scott Rose was fired after complaining that two sheriff's office employees were sexually harassing his wife, and that Burleson and Carter searched his house without a warrant.

Upshur County officials Saturday declined to comment on the lawsuit, pending an attorney review of the suit and filing a response.

According to the lawsuit, Rose, who now lives in Ozark, Mo., on April 29, 2010, filed a charge of discrimination for retaliation and sex discrimination with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On March 14, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issued Rose a notice of right-to-sue, and he filed the federal complaint in late May.

The complaint stems from a December 2009 event in which Rose learned that two other Upshur County Sheriff's Office employees had made inappropriate sexual comments or suggestive communication with his wife, according to the lawsuit. The two employees are not named in the lawsuit.

Rose complained to the chief deputy, who talked to the two employees, the lawsuit says. One employee admitted to the comments; the other did not. Rose was reassigned to a different shift, and the lawsuit describes the investigation into the two employees as "grossly inadequate."

On Feb. 2, 2010, Crystal Rose emailed Capt. Gary Roberts and complained that one employee was spreading rumors about her and her husband, according to the lawsuit.

On Feb. 3, the Roses went to town for dinner with their children and found two Upshur County Sheriff's Office vehicles parked outside their home when they returned, according to the lawsuit. They found Carter and Burleson inside their home, the lawsuit states. Carter and Burleson were startled to see the Roses and when leaving the house, Carter handed Rose a cell phone and Roberts told Rose he and his wife needed to be in Robert's office the next morning, the lawsuit says.

At 9 a.m. Feb. 4, Roberts and Sheriff Anthony Betterton (whose last name is repeatedly misspelled as Batterton in the lawsuit) met with Rose and fired him, according to the lawsuit.

Rose says in the lawsuit that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when his house was "unlawfully entered and searched without a warrant or probable cause" and that he was retaliated against "for his opposition to the sexual harassment."

Rose is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages from the county, Carter and Burleson, to be reinstated with front pay, appropriate back pay, attorney's fees, a trial by jury and additional relief.



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