LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Limestone County authorities scheduled a Wednesday morning news conference to address a harassment lawsuit filed by a sheriff's office investigator but said little about the case.
Limestone County Sheriff's Office spokesman Stephen Young held a two-minute press conference Wednesday morning that was supposed to address a federal lawsuit filed by Leslie Ramsey, a female investigator for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office.
In the lawsuit, Ramsey claims she was sexually assaulted by the office’s now-chief deputy, Fred Sloss, and improperly demoted and disciplined for complaining about the incident.
The lawsuit filed by Ramsey also alleges a number of incidents involving lost evidence, a stolen police van and other misadventures by male employees of the Sheriff’s Office, who were not disciplined.
Young began the news conference about Ramsey's lawsuit by saying the sheriff's office could not comment on any of the lawsuit's specific allegations.
"The reason we call this brief is because your viewers, your readers, our communities deserve better than 'silence' or 'no comment,'" Young said. "We must conduct some open dialogue to be able to protect the great relationship that we share with our communities."
WHNT spoke to several people in the community, who all gave a different opinion on the allegations. Blake Thornton grew up in Athens, and he says he believes the allegations could be true.
"We're all human and things do happen and its hard to think that a woman would come up and just say it out of the blue. I mean why would you just invent it," says Blake Thornton.
Velma Lowery goes to church with Chief Deputy Sloss and says she doesn't believe the allegations are true.
"I know the Sloss are good people, they are Christian people, they hold high standards and values and I feel like this is a conspiracy or set up against him," says Velma Lowery.
WHNT has reached out to lawyers for both sides of this case and have not heard back at this time.
Sheriff Blakely did not attend the conference, but he did post about Chief Deputy Fred Sloss on his Facebook page.
"Fred’s honesty, integrity, and character is second to none," Blakely wrote on Facebook. "As we go through life there will be bumps in the road but God is good and he is the judge that counts."