ATTORNEY SAYS SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWSUIT AGAINST FORMER BURLESON CO. JUDGE SETTLED

LAWSUIT AGAINST COUNTY STILL IN EFFECT

  

The attorney of a former Burleson County employee that filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was sexually assaulted by former Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland says the judge has agreed to settle the lawsuit.

Former Burleson Co. Judge Mike Sutherland

Houston attorney U.A. Lewis, representing the former clerk in the Burleson County Attorney’s Office, said Sutherland agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

The lawsuit against Sutherland and his business, the Funky Junky, was dismissed in December, with court records showing he and the clerk jointly filed to dismiss.  According to Lewis, Sutherland agreed to settle without admitting any fault.

However, the clerk’s lawsuit against Burleson County remains in effect, and the county’s motion to dismiss the case is still pending.  The case will go to trial if the motion is not granted.

Sutherland, the Funky Junky and Burleson County all filed motions to dismiss the suit last January.

Sutherland’s motion denied all allegations and stated that his attorney, David Minton of Austin, was challenging legal aspects of the filings.  The motion said the plaintiff failed to properly, legally assert her claims, and that she failed to assert a proper legal claim against the Funky Junky.

The county’s motion said that as the plaintiff worked for the county attorney’s office at the time of the alleged offense and not the county judge, her sexual harassment allegations would not apply to where she worked.  It also argues that the clerk cannot establish that she was terminated due to any alleged involvement with the county judge.

The plaintiff says the county is jointly liable because Sutherland, according to her petition, “acted under the color of law” when he allegedly sexually assaulted her in late 2017 and early 2018.

The case was originally filed in Caldwell, but was moved at Sutherland’s request to U.S. District Court in Austin.

No criminal charges have been filed, and there is no investigation.

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