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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
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Woman Says Deputy D.A. Harassed Her

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A woman claims a deputy district attorney sexually harassed her while he worked on her child support case, and the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office let him keep his job despite his history of sexual harassment.

In her federal complaint, Sheila Snyder says Rand Overton resigned from his job at last year after admitting he made inappropriate comments to her while trying to collect child support payments. She says he served 15 days in jail for official misconduct.

Snyder sued Oregon, the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office, Overton and his former bosses on civil rights and torts claims. Lincoln County's seat is Newport.

Snyder says that while she was on probation for failing to pay child support in May 2009, Overton asked her "to come in to see him wearing the dress she had worn to court and requested that she not wear any underwear."

Snyder says that because she was on probation, she "had no choice but to continue to deal with defendant Overton."

She says Overton continued to make inappropriate comments to her when they discussed her child support case, and that he told her "he would get her child support zeroed out if she came in to see him."

She says Overton even offered to pay for her transportation to come to his office.

In November 2009, Snyder says, she called the district attorney's office and told the office manager that Overton had been sexually harassing her and that she never wanted to deal with him again.

She says Chief Deputy District Attorney Marcia Buckley, a defendant in this case, confronted Overton, and sent him home after he admitted the sexual harassment.

The next day Overton attempted suicide, according to the complaint: "On November 13, 2009, Newport Police responded to an attempted suicide report regarding defendant Overton. In defendant Overton's suicide note he stated, 'Today I was suspended with pay from work. I don't expect that I would ever be able to return to work. A charge of sexual harassment was made against me. I did not have physical relations with this person but I did, I thought I was joking say things to her that would be and is harassment. It happened several months ago, I don't remember what I said in particular but I said as I remember what would be enough for me to lose my job.'"

The complaint continues: "Ms. Snyder filed a bar complaint against defendant Overton which was dated and received by the Oregon State Bar on January 5, 2010. In defendant Overton's response to the Oregon State Bar on or about April 2, 2010, defendant Overton stated, 'I do recall some of that phone call because of what I remember that I said. When we were in court Ms. Snyder was wearing a rather revealing dress, I commented on it and she mentioned that she had another that was like it. All of this was completely inappropriate on my part, I thought that I was being humorous. My comments were simply vulgar and wrong. At some point in the conversation I said something about her wearing the dress and then I made the comment that if she did maybe I would get lucky and she would forget to wear underwear.'"

Several employees of the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office told the Justice Department that child support obligors had complained that they "felt uncomfortable" around Overton, the complaint states. And Buckley described Overton as "lecherous, absolutely lecherous" and said she had "personally seen him flirt with every woman he comes into contact with practically," according to the complaint.

In December 2010 Overton was convicted of two counts of official misconduct and served 15 days in jail, and was sentenced to 2 years of probation.

Snyder seeks punitive damages for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, failure to train and supervise, civil rights violations, and violation of the Oregon Tort Claims Act. She is represented by Steven Sherlag.

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