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The Journal Gazette

  • Gerardot

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 1:00 am

Sheriff seeks deputy's firing

Merit board hears harassment claim

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

An Allen County sheriff's deputy could lose his job after he was accused of harassing the ex-girlfriend of one of his relatives. 

Officer Johnny Gerardot is a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's department. In a statement submitted to the Allen County Sheriff Merit Board, Sheriff David Gladieux said Mackenzie Thorpe reported the alleged harassment by Gerardot on March 29, 2017. Thorpe was an intern in the Allen County Court Library at the time.

Gladieux has requested the merit board fire Gerardot, who took an unrelated leave of absence from March 30 to Oct. 30, 2017. He was notified of the disciplinary action on Dec. 28 and suspended with pay pending the outcome of a merit board hearing Friday. Gerardot is charged with unbecoming conduct, providing false testimony and insubordination.

“Mackenzie Thorpe had formerly dated a relation of Officer Gerardot and was receiving harassing contacts from Officer Gerardot and other family members following the end of their relationship,” Gladieux said in his statement to the merit board. 

According to Gladieux, Gerardot “attempted to intimidate” Thorpe while she was working at the law library and also allegedly visited her at her place of employment. Gladieux also said Thorpe's mother contacted Gerardot regarding the alleged harassment. Gerardot at first expressly denied speaking to Allison Thorpe but later said he did not remember the conversation.

“Officer Gerardot's statements to Internal Affairs directly conflict with telephone records obtained by Internal Affairs and constitute dishonest responses to direct questions relating to the investigation,” Gladieux wrote.  

Documents included with Gladieux's statement show Gerardot has a history of disciplinary action for unbecoming conduct, insubordination and incompetence as an Allen County sheriff's deputy. Gladieux cited three incidents from 2001, 2009 and 2014. 

In 2009, Gerardot was reprimanded by former Sheriff Ken Fries “for improperly serving court documents by mail while failing to make any attempt to serve documents in person, falsifying court papers and grossly exceeding the speed limit in his squad car during the normal course of a work day in non-emergency situations,” Gladieux said in his statement.

Records submitted with Gladieux's statement show Fries suspended Gerardot for 10 days. 

“You will take responsibility for your work performance,” Fries wrote in a letter dated Aug. 24, 2009. “Passing blame upon others is no way for a police officer to conduct himself. It is very unbecoming and you lose credibility with your fellow officers and the public.” 

In response to Fries' disciplinary action, Gerardot refuted claims that he was sloppy or negligent in his work and claimed he was the victim of a “hostile environment and harassment that has been ongoing and consistent for the last two years.” Gerardot claimed he reported the situation to higher-ups but nothing was ever investigated or addressed.

“One most recent example, among many, is the deliberate action by my immediate supervisor to find any mistake that I make without simply asking me why I was marking the paperwork in this manner,” Gerardot wrote. “It would have been evident that there was a hiccup in my training and understanding of the procedures.” 

dgong@jg.net