Indicted sheriff fires investigator who alleged sexual assault (Limestone County)

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Sheriff Mike Blakely

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Mike Blakely, the criminally indicted sheriff of Limestone County, has fired an investigator who filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office alleging she was sexually assaulted by the department’s chief deputy.

Investigator Leslie Ramsey said Blakely fired her on Tuesday without providing a reason for the termination.

Efforts to reach Blakely for comment through a sheriff’s office spokesman were unsuccessful. The spokesman declined to comment on personnel matters.

Ramsey filed a federal lawsuit in January accusing Limestone County Chief Deputy Fred Sloss of sexually assaulting her in 2017.

Blakely, Sloss, Limestone County and the county commission are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges Ramsey was demoted and threatened with firing after reporting the assault. The defendants have denied the allegations in court filings. The case is set for trial in 2020.

An attorney for Limestone County and Commission Chairman Collin Daly didn’t return calls for comment about Ramsey’s firing.

Sloss “swiped his hand several times between Plaintiff’s legs, across her chest and crotch, and along the outside of her clothes” while she and her boyfriend were visiting Sloss at his home on Jan. 14, 2017, the lawsuit states. Sloss offered to promote Ramsey to captain if she complied with his sexual advances, which she declined, according to the lawsuit.

Ramsey was demoted from investigations to patrol after the incident was reported, the lawsuit says. She was reinstated to her investigator position after she filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the lawsuit.

In an unrelated case, the sheriff is criminally indicted in state court on a dozen felony charges of theft and abuse of power. He is accused of illegally taking money from his campaign account and sheriff’s office funds, court records state. Blakely’s criminal case is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 12 in Limestone County Circuit Court. His attorneys have said he will plead not guilty and challenge the constitutionality of the state ethics laws under which he’s charged.

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