MOSCOW, Idaho (CN) - An Idaho sheriff covered up for a deputy who had sex with a 16-year-old girl and infected her with a sexually transmitted disease, the girl and her parents claim in court.
Parents John and Tonya Dotson sued Idaho County, its Sheriff Doug Giddings, Undersheriff Jim Gorges, and Deputy Daniel Funderburg, who allegedly had sex with their 16-year-old child, on and off duty.
Idaho County is in the Panhandle, east of Moscow and Lewiston.
In their federal lawsuit, the parents claim that Funderburg, 31, began having sex with their underage daughter in August 2012.
Funderburg was arrested on Dec. 5, 2012 and charged with felony sexual battery of a minor, according to the complaint, which states that he pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2013.
The parents claim that the sheriff and undersheriff knew of the illicit sex and tried to cover it up: "Defendants, including defendant Undersheriff Jim Gorges and defendant Sheriff Doug Giddings, knew Deputy Funderburg was spending considerable time with A.D., including times while Deputy Funderburg was on duty for Idaho County, which reasonably should have raised suspicions as to the nature of the relationship between Deputy Funderburg and A.D.," the complaint states.
It adds: "Defendant Jim Gorges knew about the illegal sexual relationship between defendant Funderburg and A.D. and failed to report it and initiate action to arrest defendant Funderburg and end the illegal relationship."
The parents say they "discovered the illegal sexual relationship following defendant Funderburg's transmittal of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to the minor child," and that "Jim Gorges took efforts to conceal and cover up the illegal sexual relationship between A.D. and defendant Funderburg by not appropriately reporting it and by attempting to persuade A.D.'s mother to not press charges against defendant Funderburg."
They claim that "the crime only became known to prosecutors through an independent tip given to a Clearwater County prosecutor."
They seek punitive damages for municipal liability, battery, negligence, tortious conduct and conspiracy.
They also claim the defendants violated privacy by disclosing the story to the public.
"The disclosure of these facts constituted the disclosure of private facts to the public; the matter being one which is offensive and objectionable and constitutes invasion of privacy under Idaho law," the complaint states.
They are represented by Samuel Creason with Creason Moore Dokken & Geidle, of Lewiston.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.