Jury trial set for 2014 in lawsuit against sheriff

SALISBURY — A lawsuit filed by a former Rowan County deputy against the sheriff is slated for a jury trial next year.

Krystal Connor, a former detention center officer at the Rowan County jail, filed suit against Sheriff Kevin Auten in April, alleging discrimination. In court documents filed Monday, a trial was scheduled for July 7, 2014.

In the lawsuit, Connor said she endured racially derogatory remarks and sexually offensive comments by male co-workers. She was fired in April 2012.

The department fired Connor following an internal probe into an incident at Concord Mills mall, where Connor was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting.

The charge was dropped after Connor’s termination.

In May, a U.S. District Court Judge ordered Connor and the county to undergo mediation talks before allowing the litigation to move forward.

In response to the suit, the Sheriff’s Office cited three department policies that Connor was accused of violating, leading to her dismissal.

Connor said she didn’t violate any policies and claims the alleged harassment and ultimate termination were due at least in part to her race or gender.

In a termination letter given to Connor, the department said Connor was involved in the theft of perfume from Off Saks 5th Avenue.

Auten declined to comment specifically about Connor’s case, citing pending litigation, during a phone interview in May.

“We disagree with every one of them,” Auten said. “We intend to be in court. We just adamantly disagree with her accusations and allegations.”

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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