October 30, 2020

Hinds County sheriff settles sexual harassment claims, terms undisclosed

Sexual harassment lawsuits against a Mississippi county sheriff seeking re-election have been settled for undisclosed amounts.

News outlets report the settlements were reached this week between Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason, ex-Sgt. Belendia Jones, ex-Chief Deputy Cheryl Matory and ex-internal affairs lead Tomeca Barnes.

Mason was accused of sexually harassing the women and demoting or firing them when they declined sex or relationships. He was elected in 2015.

One lawsuit accused him of ongoing sexual harassment that started during his first campaign for sheriff. He’s seeking re-election this year.

The newspaper says he couldn’t be reached for comment. Sheriff’s attorney Claire Barker says the settlement terms prevent public disclosure.

The lawsuits also named the county as a defendant, and its Board of Supervisors still needs to approve the settlement terms.