SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) – Saying she was fired over a baseless rumor about sex with a police officer at a death scene, a former deputy coroner brought a federal complaint Thursday against Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
In the span of just 12 pages, plaintiff Lauren Fizz lays the blame for her ouster squarely on Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen and his wife, Kathleen “Traci” Allen.
Fizz says Allen’s wife is sometimes referred to as chief deputy coroner, but has none of the necessary qualifications — taking over her husband’s elected position after getting her foot in the door as office manager.
Her tenure, as described in the complaint, has been one of outrageous sexual misconduct.
Fizz says Mrs. Allen openly brags about her marital infidelities and orchestrated Fizz’s firing with a fellow deputy coroner with whom she is “intimately involved.”
“On June 13, 2017, Traci Allen and her deputy coroner paramour made a false accusation of the Human Resources Office of defendant County of Monroe that plaintiff had had a sexual encounter with a police officer at a death scene in April 2016,” the complaint says.
There was no evidence for such claims, and the implicated police officer denied the allegations as well, but Fizz says she was immediately suspended and then fired on July 26.
Because the termination notice appears to be signed by the coroner himself, Fizz says the county is purportedly “powerless” to reinstate her.
But the truth, Fizz claims, is that the coroner’s wife “has assumed all of the duties of the coroner, including purporting to have the authority to discipline and terminate employees, a duty held solely by the coroner.”
Reached over the phone about Fizz’s complaint, the coroner’s wife declined to comment. Mrs. Allen said only that she was not aware of the allegations. Her husband, the coroner, was out of the office.
Fizz says the couple’s marital issues and open-marriage arrangement are common workplace knowledge.
The complaint says Mrs. Allen overshared one time about having a “friends-with-benefits” relationship with a man she met online, and another time bragged about cutting work “for a liaison in the woods.”
Office personnel even got an eyeful of one purported lover’s erect genitalia because Mrs. Allen passed around photographs on her cellphone, Fizz says.
The complaint says the misconduct goes beyond lascivious, with Mrs. Allen continuing to collect a salary despite unexplained tardiness and lengthy absences.
“Traci Allen also made unilateral changes to payroll and overtime records so that she earned more money than other deputy coroners,” the complaint states.
Fizz says her own suspension this summer was supposed to be paid, but Mrs. Allen intercepted her weekly paychecks.
Contending that the coroner’s wife also encroaches on the property of the dead, Fizz accuses Mrs. Allen of going home with prescription medications that should instead be destroyed.
Fizz does not identify the “deputy coroner paramour” who she claims is having an affair with Mrs. Allen. She identifies him only as a former EMS worker who was “previously accused of stealing medications.”
Fizz is represented by David Deratzian of Hahalis & Kounoupis.
Monroe County has not returned a request for comment.