Hinds County sheriff settles sexual harassment claims, terms undisclosed

Published 6:37 am Friday, January 11, 2019

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.

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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.