Former Greenbrier deputy settles civil rights suit for $100K

By Lawrence Smith | May 13, 2013

BECKLEY – A former Greenbrier County Sheriff’s deputy has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging he improperly had sex with a woman when she has still a teenager.

U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger on May 2 entered an order dismissing Cendlelyn Stanley’s civil rights suit against Chris Baker. The order came after the sides announced a settlement four days before a trial was scheduled to begin.

The order stipulated that Baker, 33 and of Renick, agreed to pay Stanley, 20 and of Rainelle, $100,000 in exchange for her dismissing all claims against him.

Also, Baker agreed to the amount on the condition he would not obligated to pay pre- or post-judgment interest.

According to the complaint originally filed in Greenbrier Circuit Court on June 29, 2010, by Stanley’s mother, Cheryl Ball, Baker used his position as a deputy sheriff to befriend Stanley a year earlier.

After gaining her trust through a series of conversations, Ball alleged Baker had sex with Stanley on multiple occasions in his police cruiser while in uniform. This occurred while she was 16 years old, the lawsuit claims.

In the suit, Ball alleged when then-Sheriff Roger Sheppard hired him on June 12, 2007, he was aware of Baker’s perversions. According to the suit, Sheppard was aware Baker was fired from one of his previous jobs at a convenience store “for poking holes in a wall and using the holes to watch females use the restroom.”

Elected sheriff in 2004, Sheppard was defeated for re-election in the 2008 primary by Bruce Hosey, who lost in that year’s general election to Republican James Childers.

In last year’s election, Jan Cahill, a Democrat and former State Police captain, upended Childers’ re-election bid.

Both Sheppard and Childers were named as co-defendants in the suit. Along with ones for assault and battery and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress against Baker, Ball made a claim of negligent hiring, training and supervision against Sheppard and Childers.

The case, which was originally assigned to Greenbrier Circuit Judge James Rowe, was transferred to U.S. District Court on July 26, 2010, after Katie Hicklin and Wendy Greve, attorneys for Sheppard and Childers, filed a notice of removal.

Records show Baker was left to fend for himself after Berger on Dec. 11 granted a motion by West Virginia Counties’ Risk Pool, Greenbrier County’s insurance carrier, that argued it was not obligated to pay for any damages that might be awarded since he was acting outside the scope of his authority during his alleged encounters with Stanley.

A month later, Berger granted a motion by George Joseph, Baker’s attorney, to withdraw from the suit since WVCoRP would no longer be paying him to represent Baker.

On April 15, Berger granted a motion Hicklin and Greve filed a month earlier asking that the complaint be amended to list only Stanley as the plaintiff since in the course of litigation she turned 18 year old. It also dismissed Childers as a defendant following Berger’s Sept. 18 ruling finding Ball failed to plead any of her four claims against him.

Two weeks later, Berger granted a joint motion filed by Stanley and Sheppard dismissing all claims against him.

Throughout the suit, Stanley was represented by Charleston attorneys Michael O. Callaghan and Joshua R. Martin.

According to the Greenbrier County Clerk’s Office, Baker was terminated from GCSD on Oct. 21, 2009. His salary was $34,820.

A search of records in both Greenbrier Magistrate and Circuit courts shows no criminal charges have been filed against Baker for his alleged encounters with Stanley.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case number 10-cv-955

Greenbrier Circuit Court, case number 10-C-134

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