CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A civil trial began Tuesday in Beckley for a Summers County sheriff who allegedly sexually harassed a secretary and laughed off an incident in which two of his deputies shocked her on the buttocks with a Taser.
Sheriff Edward Dolphin and Chief Deputy James Chellis each face civil charges that include battery and sexual harassment in a 2010 lawsuit filed by Administrative Deputy Cheryl Bratcher.
Bratcher claims Dolphin began habitually directing vulgar remarks toward her shortly after his election in 2009, according to the lawsuit, authored by Bratcher's lawyer, Anthony R. Veneri.
On one occasion, Bratcher apparently told Dolphin that she took care of an elderly disabled woman, which included the task of helping her bathe. Dolphin asked Bratcher how much she would charge to give him a bath, the suit states.
Dolphin also repeatedly made remarks about other women's genitalia in front of Bratcher, including opining about how large their breasts were, the suit states.
One day, a deputy approached Bratcher from behind and shocked her on the rear with a Taser, the lawsuit states. Within minutes, Chief Deputy Chellis again shocked the woman in almost the exact same spot, causing a painful blister, according to the suit.
Bratcher complained to Dolphin about the Taser incident and the marks they apparently made on her body.
"In response, Dolphin laughed and advised [Bratcher] that if her husband got bored, he could play connect the dots on her 'a--,'" Veneri wrote in the lawsuit.
Chellis also repeatedly directed vulgar remarks toward Bratcher, according to the suit, including references to his own genitalia.