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Details Released on Investigations Into Two Former Sheriff's Department Employees

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Marion County Sheriff Jerry DeVore has released Freedom of Information requests on internal investigations of alleged sexual harrassment at the department that ended with the employees under investigation leaving their jobs.  

Sheriff's Department Sergeant Forest Elkins retired the same day DeVore served him a letter that he was suspended with pay pending an investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed two female employees of the department.  The letter informed Elkins he had the right to have a labor council representative present with him for the pre-disciplinary meeting and that he would be called at a later date for an investigatory interview by one of the department's detectives.   Later in the day on September 25th, Elkins presented a one sentence letter to the sheriff that said 'Please be advised that effective this date I am retiring.'  

The internal investigation report released as part of the Freedom of Information Act included interviews detailing specific incidents where Elkins had allegedly made verbal comments that made the female employees uncomfortable.  In one case, the employee confirmed she tried to avoid shifts when Elkins would also be working.  

The other internal investigation involved former Jail Administrator Jeff White, who resigned.  A female employee said White had agreed to provide her with a part-time job and allow her to live in his rental home in return for a relationship after the two met on a dating website.   She claimed in her interview that she never wanted the relationship to be sexual, which White allegedly later pushed.  

State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach had initially requested the investigation of White for any criminal wrong-doing.  However, Wilzbach says after reviewing the report, he decided NOT to file any criminal charges in the case.  

DeVore says he immediately ordered investigations into the allegations and then took action when they were completed.  

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