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County Prosecutor Accused of Harassment

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) - An administrative assistant claims Texas County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney Michael Anderson sexually harassed her. She says she was forced to quit after Anderson, who is married, left a message on her home answering machine saying he loved her, then demanded that she give him the tape, and when she refused, got an order from a judge ordering her to give Anderson the tape.

Monica Hutchinson claims Anderson sexually harassed her repeatedly, fired her on a pretext after she resisted and objected, hired her back a week later - making the offer through a Missouri Highway Patrolman who told her that Anderson "said he was sorry."

She says Anderson then continued to sexually harass her, and that his aggression culminated during a night in December 2005, when a woman who was a court clerk for Texas County Judge Bradford Elsworth stayed over at her house.

The federal complaint states: "At approximately 1:20 a.m. that morning, plaintiff's home telephone rang and the answering machine picked up. Defendant Anderson left a message stating that he was coming over and that he had something to tell her. Plaintiff and her friend turned the lights off in the house, but defendant Anderson arrived at plaintiff's home and knocked on her front door. Plaintiff did not answer the door, and after a few minutes defendant Anderson returned to his vehicle. Plaintiff's home phone rang again and defendant Anderson left another message to the effect of 'send the boy out, I want to talk to you, I have something to tell you.' Defendant Anderson then came back to the front door and banged on it and went back to his vehicle and made another call, but hung up. Plaintiff heard defendant Anderson get back out of his vehicle, slam his door very hard, and stomp up the stairs to her door. Defendant Anderson beat on the door and even wiggled the door handles trying to open it. Defendant Anderson then left the front door and went to the car port door and started banging on it real hard. Defendant Anderson was mad, and plaintiff heard him say, 'Ignore me you fucking bitch.' Plaintiff then called the Licking Police Department, and as soon as the officer on duty drove by, defendant Anderson left plaintiff's house. Defendant Anderson then called plaintiff's house again and left a long message on plaintiff's answering machine indicating that he had feelings for plaintiff and that he loved her;

"After this incident, defendant Anderson left several more phone messages and kept pestering plaintiff and attempting to get the answering machine tape from her, and she could no longer tolerate the sexually harassing and abusive work environment created by defendants;

"On December 23, 2005, after unsuccessfully attempting to get plaintiff to give him the answering machine tape, defendant Anderson went to Judge Elsworth and obtained an order for plaintiff to produce the tape to him. Plaintiff resigned at that time as a result of her constructive discharge after handing a copy of the tape to the Judge.

"The actions of defendant Michael R. Anderson, described in paragraph 12 of Count I of this complaint were done in his capacity as Texas County Prosecutor and as an agent of Texas County, Missouri, and were offensive, constituted sexual harassment, and created a hostile work environment for plaintiff based upon her sex, which harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of employment. The acts were also sufficiently pervasive to seriously affect the working environment of plaintiff. Plaintiff's eventual termination of employment was the result of a constructive discharge created by the conduct and environment described above."

She also claims that Anderson defamed her with false accusations that she "used her position in the Texas County Prosecutor's Office to 'do favors' for friends, and 'to coordinate and orchestrate a "swinger" style sex ring out of the Texas County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.'

"Said false and defamatory statements were published in writing in the damage complaint filed against plaintiff by defendant Michael R. Anderson and in press releases defendant Michael R. Anderson issued in connection with that lawsuit and were published verbally to reporters, Court personnel, and the public at large."

She demands punitive damages. She is represented by David Steelman of Rolla.

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