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Fairfax County Can’t Shake Retaliation Claim

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - Fairfax County cannot dismiss claims it demoted and otherwise retaliated against a former deputy sheriff after she filed serial sexual harassment complaints.

In a lawsuit filed in the Alexandria, Va. Federal Court, Ann Good, claimed she was repeatedly the victim of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, was publicly singled out as a troublemaker by fellow officers, and that the county did nothing to stop the incidents.

Good, who beginning in 2008 was a physical trainer at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, said the first incident occurred a year later, when former Fairfax Police Officer James Summers stalked and eventually sexually assaulted her in her home.

Later that year, a jury convicted Summers of forcible sodomy and he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

At the time of the assault, Good filed a complaint with supervisor, Police Sergeant Eric Bridge, who was initially helpful. But eventually, Bridge also began making advances on the plaintiff, Good claimed.

According to the complaint, Bridge touched her inappropriately, told her that she "owed" him for his support and threatened to demote her if she did not comply with his advances.

Good claims she complained to just about every supervisor in department's chain of command between 2010 and 2012, to no avail.

She alleges that Sheriff's Department Captain Ramarr Prudhum took Bridge's side, often refusing to hear her at all.

It wasn't until she filed a complaint with the department's affirmative action officer that in internal investigation was conducted and Bridge reassigned.

However, the complaint said, prior to leave the academy, Bridge addressed a conference room full of his colleagues, exposing Good's confidential allegations and warning his fellow officers, "first she went after Summers, then she went after me, you could be next."

Good said that from that time on, she was ostracized, and her fellow officers refused to even speak to her.

"FCPD Lieutenant Mike Shamblin told Plaintiff she "was like a person on [the television show] Survivor who had no allies ... " U.S. District Court Judge James Cacheris wrote in an opinion issued last week. "... Even though FCPD and Sheriff's Office Supervisors observed this behavior, nothing was done to stop it."

Good claims that in 2013, two of her supervisors conspired to lower her performance evaluation in an ultimately successful attempt to have her demoted.

Judge Cacheris cited the history of known and alleged sexual harassment, and Good's subsequent demotion in concluding the her claims were sufficient to implicate the county for retaliation charges.

Good seeks $600,000 in compensatory damages and reemployment as lead physical trainer of the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, on multiple claims of retaliation and sex discrimination.

She is represented by Ellen Renaud of Swick & Shapiro in Washington, D.C.

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