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Former Butte police detective alleges discrimination, harassment in federal lawsuit

Posted at 8:25 AM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 10:25:04-05

BUTTE - A former detective with the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement department has filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination and harassment against her former employer.

Rhonda Staton, an 18-year veteran of the police department, filed a civil suit alleging she was treated differently from the male employees and endured continued harassment, discrimination, and threats.

Court documents allege she found tampons and other inappropriate material left in her mailbox. A calendar was placed on her door with inappropriate sexual material on it and, unlike male employees, she was routinely shouted at and treated disrespectfully in front of her coworkers.

Staton claims in the lawsuit she reported these incidents on at least six different occasions to her superiors, but they were ignored.

When these complaints became known to the department, Staton claims the harassment and retaliation increased.

The lawsuit states that Sheriff Ed Lester, as a form of retaliation, terminated her job in August.

Lester said he was aware of the lawsuit, but the department does not comment on pending litigation.