Wood Commission settles drug court participant’s sexual harassment suit

By Lawrence Smith | Feb 1, 2013

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Commission has agreed to settle a woman’s claim she was sexually harassed by one of her counselors in the drug court program.

Wood Circuit Judge J. D. Beane on Aug. 8, 2011, dismissed Nikki Faye Secoy’s lawsuit against the Commission after the sides earlier announced they reached a settlement through mediation. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court records.

However, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the West Virginia Record, the commission disclosed it paid Secoy $37,500. The payout was made by its insurance carrier, West Virginia Counties Risk Pool.

Also, WVCoRP paid a total of $62,557.50 in legal fees in expenses. The bulk, $33,974.04, to George J. Joseph with Bailey and Wyant, who represented the Commission, and nearly the rest went to Wendy E. Greve with Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, who defended David W. Jeffrey, one of the co-defendants.

In her suit, Secoy, 39, alleged, Jeffrey, 59, 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. No specifics were provided as to the nature of the acts or when they took place.

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 alleged encounter to the center’s staff, Secoy says Jeffrey was eventually terminated “for this inappropriate sexual conduct.”

According to the Wood County Clerk’s Office Jeffrey, was employed at the Center from Nov. 1, 2006, until Jan. 15, 2010. The center provides alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders in Wood, Jackson and Roane counties, and is partially funded from fees paid by offenders who then participate in substance abuse, anger management or G.E.D. programs.

An apparent criminal investigation was conducted into Jeffrey’s alleged misconduct as among the names her attorney Paul Stroebel submitted on his witness list for a possible trial were Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Wharton and “all individuals involved in the investigation.” However, records show Jeffrey was never charged with any crime related to Secoy’s allegations.

Wood Circuit Court, case number 10-C-92

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