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Missouri sheriff resigns, calls affair a 'personal failing'

Missouri sheriff resigns, calls affair a 'personal failing'

April 19th, 2018 by Associated Press in Missouri News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The sheriff in Kansas City's Jackson County is resigning after recently released court documents described him having a sexual and financial relationship with a female employee who's suing the county.

Sheriff Mike Sharp released a written statement Wednesday saying he was "accountable" for his actions after court documents said he had acknowledged giving administrative assistant Christine Lynde $8,000 as a down payment for a house. The court records, which were filed last week, said Sharp took Lynde on taxpayer-funded trips and approved so many raises for her that she became the highest-paid civilian sheriff's office employee, the Kansas City Star reported.

"I allowed my judgment as Sheriff and my obligations to Jackson County (to) be clouded because of my feelings for someone I cared very deeply for in the past," the statement said. "This was a personal failing and is entirely my responsibility."

Sgt. John Payne, a sheriff's office spokesman, said in a written statement that Sharp's resignation will take effect today.

Lynde, who's co-owned a house with Sharp since last year, sued the county in 2016, alleging sexual harassment by two female co-workers, as well as Sharp's then second-in-command, Col. Hugh Mills. Lynde said the harassment began shortly after she began working at the department in September 2013. The hostile atmosphere intensified, she said, after one of the female co-workers alleged to Lee's Summit police that Lynde sexually assaulting her at a motel room that fall after a night out drinking.

According to the police report, the female co-worker accused Lynde of removing the woman's shirt and encouraging a male friend to take photographs of her on a bed in the motel. The woman told police she was unsure what happened next, but awoke to find her pants had been removed. She then quickly left the motel.

When she told Sharp about the incident, he showed "resentment" toward her, according to the police report. The woman told police she believed "this was a result of Lynde and Sheriff Sharp being friends."

No charges were ever filed.

In Lynde's suit, she said she told Mills she had been falsely accused but that Mills "retaliated" against her. She also said in the suit that an unnamed male co-worker later made "inappropriate comments" and "touched her inappropriately" and that someone slashed her tires when her vehicle was parked in the sheriff's department lot in 2014.