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Deschutes County, sheriff’s deputy reach $527,000 settlement of federal discrimination lawsuit

KTVZ file

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A month before it was set to go to trial, a $527,000 settlement was announced late Wednesday of a federal lawsuit filed four years ago by a Deschutes County sheriff's deputy against the county and Sheriff Shane Nelson, alleging sex discrimination and other illegal job practices.

Along with the payment to Deputy Crystal Jansen that includes attorney fees, Jansen has agreed to resign her position with the sheriff’s office, the brief county announcement said, adding, “The parties will not be providing any additional comment."

Nearly five years ago, Jansen filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, accusing Nelson of discriminating against her the prior three years because she is a woman. The allegations included blocking her from promotions, excluding her from training her male counterparts were provided, and harassment.

Nelson said at the time that an outside investigator had looked into the claims and that, for example, other employees were chosen due to seniority or her poor performance reviews. Jansen said the investigator talked to only four of the 20 people she’d asked to be interviewed and that Nelson taunted her by entering a meeting, winking at her and placing his hand on her shoulder.

A video provided by the sheriff’s office to NewsChannel 21 at that time became part of the allegations in the 2017 federal lawsuit (amended the following year), noting that the video provided to the station blurred other people’s faces, but not hers.

A two-week trial of the lawsuit was scheduled to begin Oct. 18 in federal court in Eugene, court documents show.

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

11 Comments

    1. I thought that I read that the County itself has to pay these claims, but I could be wrong. Usually, insurance policies have a very high deductible. It’s ‘funny’, Nelson has been the Teflon Sheriff for years, with many local defenders. It has taken many years for the truth to catch up with him.

  1. Just wait until the county taxpayers have to cover nelsons bill for putting pro segregation propaganda on the police cars, we will be very lucky if its still only six figures!

      1. Barney, sometimes the police do “segregate” to prevent the prisoners from collaborating on their ‘story’ during interrogation but I don’t think that is ‘actionable’ in court. There is one lesson I learned from my youthful transgressions; if a cop asks you to submit to a field sobriety, don’t respond, “Why, I couldn’t pass those tests if I was sober!”

  2. Cost of doing business.

    Anytime there is a non-disclosure clause involved it points to “we agree to disagree”.

    Nothing to see here. Move along, please? Move along.

  3. How much has Nelson cost the county in these lawsuits and settlements? I’d love to hear an accurate figure.
    Maybe the county should save some money and terminate his employment.

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