In midst of wrongful death suit, Jeffery sexual harassment trial slated for July

By Lawrence Smith | Mar 17, 2011

PARKERSBURG – Aside from one for wrongful death, David Wyatt Jeffery is defending himself in a sexual harassment suit scheduled for trial this summer.

Last month, Jeffery was named as a co-defendant in a suit filed by Terry Barnes alleging his wife, Debora, died in January 2010, when Jeffery accidently struck her with his car while she was walking from Parkersburg South High School's parking lot across Beverly Street to South Parkersburg Baptist Church for a Christmas play the month before. The Wood County Board of Education, and SPBC are named as co-defendants in the suit for failing to provide a walkway across the street.

Last March, Jeffery was named as a co-defendant in an unrelated suit filed by Nikki Secoy. In her suit, Secoy alleged sometime between late 2008 and early 2010, Jeffery, while employed as a counselor for the Wood County Community Corrections Day Report Center forced her to have "inappropriate and illegal sexual relations" with him.

According to court records, Secoy was placed into the county's drug court program on Sept. 5, 2008, after pleading guilty to two counts of forgery and uttering. Though no action was initially taken against him after she reported their encounter to the Center's staff, Secoy alleges Jeffery was eventually terminated "for this inappropriate sexual conduct."

According to the Wood County Commission, which operates the Center, and is named as a co-defendant in Secoy's suit, Jeffery's last day of employment was Jan. 15, 2010, five days before Barnes' death.

In June, Jeffery via his attorney Wendy Greve filed an answer to Secoy's suit denying her allegations of any type of sexual encounter. In addition to asserting a defense of qualified immunity, Jeffrey maintained that any injuries, physical or emotional, Secoy suffered while in the drug court program were a result of "misconduct or acts by others of which he has no control."

Though Jeffery has not been charged with any crime related to Secoy's allegations, her attorney Paul Stroebel on Jan. 20 submitted his witness list that included Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Wharton and "all individuals involved in the investigation." Greve on Feb. 1 submitted her witness list that only named Dr. David Clayman, a clinical psychologist in Charleston.

Greve stated that she reserved the right to supplement the list at a later date.

Judge J.D. Beane on Aug. 23 scheduled the suit for trial on July 12 preceded by a mediation session, and pre-trial conference on June 27.

Wood Circuit Court case number 10-C-92

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