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Suit filed against Spalding sheriff, former deputy

As the result of an investigation into alleged misconduct by former Spalding County Sheriff’s Deputy, David Gibson, which led to Gibson resigning his position on May 21, a lawsuit has been filed by four employees of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office against both Gibson and Sheriff Wendall Beam. On July 10, WKEU News was notified that the four employees’”Karen Law, Kimberly Barnett, Jessica Kelley and Misty Piper’”filed suit within the Spalding County Clerk’s Office, serving notice of their intent to sue both Gibson and Beam in both their official and individual capacities. Eleanor Atwood of Legare, Atwood and Wolfe LLC allege numerous charges and will seek an estimated $2 million per plaintiff in compensatory and punitive damages. The four plaintiffs allege ‘over the past decade, former captain of the Sheriff’s Office, David Gibson, sexually harassed, intimidated and/or physically assaulted the claimants. Sheriff Beam and former Sheriff Dee Stewart received numerous complaints regarding Gibson’s misconduct but failed to take corrective action, affording Gibson the opportunity to continue his sexual misconduct.’ As a result of the misconduct and the Sheriff’s Office failure to take corrective action, Atwood stated that her clients ‘suffered emotional distress for which they are entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. Overall, my clients have suffered substantial damages because of the actions of the defendants.’ In a meeting with Sheriff Beam at the conclusion of the investigation on May 21, Gibson, when faced with the option to be fired or to resign, opted to resign after a 27 year career. The investigation was initially conducted within the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office but was turned over and thus concluded by Administrative Lt. Ronald Brainerd of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Brainerd’s final report stated that numerous allegations against Gibson were substantiated, documented that his misconduct had been taking place over a number of years and that the allegations were well known within the department. -Bill Taylor, WKEU

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