April 18 (UPI) — The sheriff of Jackson County, Mo., which includes Kansas City, has resigned after court documents revealed he carried on an affair with an employee who had a pending sexual harassment lawsuit against the county.
Sheriff Mike Sharp submitted his resignation Thursday after he acknowledged the affair in a court deposition. Sharp admitted to giving cash, gifts and raises — much of it paid for with taxpayer dollars — to administrative assistant Christine Lynde, the Kansas City Star reported.
Among the perks Lynde received were $8,000 for a down payment on a house she and Sharp own together, a $240 per week car allowance, permission to work from home and enough of a raise to make her the highest-paid civilian employee in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
The pair also took trips together that were paid for with public funds, according to court documents.
“I allowed my judgment as Sheriff and my obligations to Jackson County be clouded because of my feelings for someone I cared very deeply for in the past,” Sharp said in his resignation statement. “I am accountable for my actions.”
Lynde filed her lawsuit against Jackson County in 2015 for retaliating against her when she made harassment complaints against two co-workers.
One complaint was between Lynde and a female co-worker. That co-worker accused Lynde of sexual assault but the charge was deemed “unfounded,” according to court documents.
Lynde then filed a complaint against the co-worker for harassment and the co-worker allegedly responded by “threatening to write [Lynde’s] name and phone number on every man’s bathroom stall and challenged Lynde’s job duties.” In addition, Lynde said rumors were spread about her and her car tires were slashed.
The second complaint accused a male co-worker of making “inappropriate” comments and touching.
After filing these complaints, Lynde said she was threatened with pay decreases and superiors tried to coerce her to admit wrongdoing.
Sharp and Lynde were engaged in a romantic relationship throughout Lynde’s employment, including while the lawsuit was pending.
Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said he will appoint an interim to replace Sharp.