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Published: Monday, 2/18/2008

2 officials at Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center quit

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two high-ranking officials at the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center accused of sexual harassment by a detention officer resigned before an internal investigation into those accusations was completed.

Tony Garrett, 49, the detention center's administrator, and Brooks Rollins, 51, the center's assistant administrator, tendered their resignations in December, more than two months after they were placed on administrative leave because a complaint was filed against them.

Mr. Garrett was replaced as administrator by Joan Parker. The court has not hired a replacement for Mr. Rollins.

According to public records obtained through the juvenile court, a female juvenile detention officer accused Mr. Garrett of harassment over a seven-year period dating back to 2000. She accused Mr. Brooks of harassment stemming from an incident that also involved Mr. Garrett.

Records show that during the juvenile court's internal investigation into those charges, three other detention center employees claimed they were harassed by Mr. Garrett. Some male employees corroborated their co-workers' claims, and Mr. Garrett and Mr. Rollins were also accused of running the detention center through favoritism and intimidation.

The two men denied those allegations when interviewed during the court's investigation.

Juvenile court Administrator Dan Pompa said the court agreed not to publicly discuss the details of its investigation. He declined to say what, if any, punishment the men would have received had they not resigned.

"Without having a final recommendation or finding from the investigation, I can't say if we would've fired them or not," Mr. Pompa said. "There was no reason to go any further because they resigned."

Court records show the female officer's harassment complaint against Mr. Garrett and Mr. Rollins was filed in early October, shortly after she was questioned for tardiness to work.

Mr. Pompa said the internal investigation began almost immediately and he expected results in late December. The other harassment allegations against Mr. Garrett were also recorded in October.

Mr. Rollins' letter of resignation is dated Dec. 15, and Mr. Garrett's letter is dated Dec. 28.

"You don't take people with that many years of quality service and do a half-[hearted] job of investigating a serious charge like that against them," Mr. Pompa said.

Mr. Brooks, a juvenile court employee since 1980, could not be reached for comment.

Richard A. Mitchell, an attorney for Mr. Garrett, said his client resigned because he felt his authority as an administrator was undermined by "untrue allegations" and a "lengthy" investigation.

In a letter dated Oct. 31 to juvenile court Administrative Judge Denise Cubbon, Mr. Mitchell complained that Mr. Garrett had not yet been interviewed by investigators. Records show that both Mr. Garrett and Mr. Rollins were interviewed on Nov. 6.

"How are they going to put him on leave for such an extended period of time without even talking to him?" Mr. Mitchell said. "There are so many other ways to deal with allegations in the workplace than how this was handled." Mr. Mitchell declined to say whether his client would seek legal action against his accusers or the juvenile court.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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