Added: Donta Baily - Date: 10.02.2022 05:35 - Views: 42539 - Clicks: 8299
Anna Donner hoped for a career in law enforcement when she ed the Hearne Police Department in After serving eight years in the Air Force, the year-old landed her first civilian job as a dispatcher for the small department near College Station. She hoped it would be a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a crime scene investigator. But soon, she had a big problem.
One police officer, Stephen J. Yohner, frequently made sexual comments about women co-workers. Once, Donner said, he suggested she and another woman shower together in his new home.
Donner tried to brush off the remarks, but in SeptemberYohner escalated his behavior. While the two worked in the dispatch area alone, Donner suddenly found Yohner sitting close behind her. Donner made it clear his actions were unwanted and reported the incident to her supervisor. A few months later, Jennifer Passmore, a four-year veteran of the department, alleged that Yohner had also sexually harassed her. The Dallas Morning News usually withholds the names of targets of sexual harassment, but both women in the Hearne incident decided to use their names publicly.
Inhe was fired by the Navasota Police Department after a sexual relationship with a woman he met while responding to a police call. The agreement barred the city from disparaging Yohner and orally disclosing to prospective employers why Yohner had left. Yohner continued to work as a police officer for 10 more years and five more agencies after leaving Navasota.
Two of the agencies that hired Yohner after his time in Navasota reviewed those records and still hired him. Hearne did not review the records before hiring him. Despite reing from Hearne under the cloud of new sexual harassment allegations inYohner remained d to work as a police officer in Texas and even received glowing recommendations from his supervisors there when he applied to other departments.
His case highlights glaring shortcomings in how police departments in Texas handle sexual misconduct allegations in their ranks and how the state fails in tracking problem officers. Yohner could not be reached despite phone calls to multiple s listed under his name and a certified letter to his last known address. His LinkedIn says he now works as an insurance adjuster. Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the 30,member TMPA, said the union does not support the use of these agreements to block disclosure of officer misconduct.
But once the lawyer is provided, the union is not involved in the defense strategy.
He said those agencies agreements because they also have something to hide. In MarchYohner was fired by Navasota for insubordination and a crime involving moral turpitude after a citizen complained that Yohner was having an affair with his wife. Yohner had met the woman on a police call. Two officers who investigated the complaint found that Yohner lied to them about his relationship with the woman and intentionally disobeyed an order not to talk to the witnesses.
The woman, whose name was redacted in a copy of the internal affairs report obtained by The Newssaid Yohner would approach her while on duty during her nightly newspaper route and compliment her body. The two began a sexual relationship. Yohner also told investigators that he had discussed with an underage girl having a relationship with her once she turned Yohner was 27 at the time. Yohner was fired following the investigation, but nine days later, Gregory B. Cagle, a lawyer provided by TMPA, began an appeal of his termination.
Months later, Cagle and the department worked out a deal that allowed Navasota to get rid of Yohner without a drawn-out appeal. The News obtained a copy of the agreement through an open records request. In other words, if another employer called for a background check by phone and asked if they should hire Yohner, the city could not disclose information about his sexual misconduct or the internal affairs investigation in that call. Cagle said he did not remember the facts of the case and the file on Yohner was destroyed after five years, in keeping with his practice. On Sept.
Within two months, he was working in Bremond, half an hour north of Navasota, where he would be police chief for a year and a half. The Navasota complaint was not criminal; it was an administrative issue handled internally by the police department. Handling these types of complaints as administrative issues allows problem officers to move from job to job without complaints and discipline showing up on their records. In Texas, the agency in charge of licensing police officers cannot suspend officers for administrative violations until they are adjudicated. The only time TCOLE can suspend a is if an officer fails to complete mandatory continued education, is convicted of or received deferred adjudication for felonies or certain misdemeanors, or has received two dishonorable discharges.
That leaves small cities with limited budgets responsible for handling often complicated administrative complaints, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, that are often appealed by officers and their unions. Faced with the threat of a long and expensive legal battle, a small city may choose to an agreement with an officer in exchange for settling the dispute. But there is no way to track how many exist in Texas.
But in small departments, background investigators may not know how to identify or get around these agreements — Navasota believed its agreement had planted a warning to other agencies — or may be desperate to fill a vacancy.
InYohner moved to the Hearne Police Department, where he handled narcotics investigations and, as a sergeant, oversaw other employees. In the summer ofPassmore, who had no documented disciplinary issues in four years with the department, told Robertson County District Attorney investigators that Yohner was pocketing seized narcotics. She also told them he was sexually harassing her and had sent her a lewd photo of him and a woman having sex. No one was interested. Around the same time, Anna Donner told her bosses that Yohner had tried to grope her.
The supervisor asked if she wanted her to talk to Yohner, but Donner said she only wanted to alert her in case there were future incidents. At the time, Donner worried a bad review from Yohner could ruin her chance at a career in law enforcement. But now, she wishes she had done more. If they do not, they open the employer to liability if the harasser strikes again. Hearne officials did neither. In the following months, Donner said, Yohner began a campaign to push her out.
In Juneshe left the department. On March 25,Passmore wrote a nine- complaint to Naron detailing a poorly managed department where favored officers bullied lower-ranking employees. She repeated her concerns about Yohner. Stephens, who left the department in Februarywrote that Williams had asked a dispatcher for nude photos after saying he had masturbated to her pictures on Facebook. Yohner would often show Stephens photos of naked women on his phone.
Passmore included text exchanges between her and Yohner in her complaint. Those included multiple, graphic requests for sex from Yohner and an unsolicited picture of his penis. She said all the conversations were initiated by Yohner and she often tried to laugh off a lewd comment or change the subject. Naron gave Yohner the option to re or be fired.
His union-provided lawyer objected. By MayYohner was applying for jobs at other police departments. Hico police Chief Ronnie Ashmore was frustrated when he learned his highly recommended recruit was booted from his last agency under investigation for sexual harassment.
But no one told him Yohner had left Hearne after multiple sexual harassment complaints. Yohner was dismissed from Hico in Juneless than two weeks after being hired as a part-time reservist. In Hearne, he was the subject of a Texas Rangers investigation into official oppression and tampering with evidence.
In that investigation, a fellow officer said he saw Yohner and Williams flush drugs down the toilet at the department. Williams admitted to disposing of the drugs. Yohner said the cocaine was fake. The investigation, conducted after Yohner left the agency, confirmed that sexual comments were the norm in the department and that Williams participated. Williams said he knew Yohner had faced sexual harassment allegations in Navasota.
Texas Ranger Steven Jeter, who conducted the investigation, was aware of the Navasota separation agreement and went to review it in person, city officials said. The panel took no action against Yohner or Williams, who was also investigated. In it, Jeter said he believed she and Yohner were having a sexual relationship even though both had told him they were not. Passmore said he misconstrued an incident where Yohner forcibly kissed her during a training exercise. In her complaint, she detailed basic mistakes, including the spelling of witness names, the military branch Donner served in and who had provided Jeter investigation le.
Her request was denied. Because Jeter was no longer with the department, no further action was taken. After the investigation, Yohner went on to a part-time job at the police department in Taft, near Corpus Christi. Williams was suspended for two weeks without pay following the grand jury hearing. After investigators declined to act when she initially reported him, Passmore said she tried to use the text conversations to prove she was being harassed.
At the same time, Passmore was struggling with health problems. In Decembershe injured her hip on the job. The injury limited her to desk duty but even that proved too difficult.
The city refused to pay for treatment for a medical condition that stemmed from that on-duty injury. She spent the year fighting the city in court and won.Anna Texas women sex
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Innocence Project of Texas