A former deputy at the New Orleans jail filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Monday in federal court against the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and a deputy with whom she once had a romantic relationship.
Christine Conner alleges she was demoted in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint against the other deputy and that the abusive workplace environment eventually forced her to quit.
Conner was one of several current and former deputies who spoke out about what they called a culture of sexual harassment at the jail in a New Orleans Advocate/WWL-TV investigation last year.
The dangers of the New Orleans jail are many and well-documented: riots, suicides, airborne human waste and frequent attacks by inmates on guards.
“They treat them like they're candy. They pass them off to each other,” Conner said of the way male deputies treat female colleagues. “They get in groups and talk about who's going to get after who first. It's disgusting.”
The lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Danatus King, seeks back wages and unspecified financial damages for Conner.
In the lawsuit, Conner alleges that she became pregnant by Sgt. Clemont Griffin after they began a sexual relationship in 2016. When their relationship became “caustic,” she “attempted to end the relationship,” according to the suit.
Conner says she was subjected to sexual harassment and threatening telephone calls, and one morning was the victim of an assault and battery.
When Conner complained to her supervisors, they did nothing, the suit alleges. In January 2018 she decided to leave the Sheriff’s Office, she says.
Conner says she filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and received a “right to sue” letter in October.
Griffin has declined to comment on his relationship with Conner in the past, and he could not be reached for comment this week.
An attorney for the Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Judge Carl Barbier.