Jessamine EMS chief accused of rape is put on paid leave, named in third lawsuit

gkocher1@herald-leader.comMay 19, 2014 

Jerry Domidion, the director of Jessamine County Emergency Medical Services, instructed an EMT class at Jessamine County schools' Career and Technology Center in August 2006.

FILE PHOTO BY MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — Herald-Leader

— Jerry Domidion, the director of Jessamine County Emergency Medical Services facing allegations of rape and sexual harassment, was put on paid leave Friday, Jessamine County Judge-Executive Neal Cassity said Monday.

Meanwhile, a third lawsuit that names Domidion as a defendant was filed Monday in Jessamine County.

Cassity and other sources would not say why Domidion was put on administrative leave now, three months after a former employee alleged in a civil suit that Domidion raped her.

Cassity said Domidion continues to be employed by the county, and Chris Wilhite, formerly assistant chief under Domidion, is now in charge of emergency medical services. He declined to comment further.

Domidion, 45, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Bruce Smith of Nicholasville, declined to comment. Nor would Lexington attorney Barry Stilz, who represents Jessamine Fiscal Court, nor J. Robert Cowan, the attorney who represents plaintiffs who have filed suits against Domidion.

A suit filed in February by former EMS employee Katherine Hurst alleges that Domidion engaged in "continuing, pervasive, outrageous and unlawful conduct of a sexual nature directed at" Hurst and "numerous other subordinate female employees."

The suit said the sexual assault occurred in 2009, although there is no record of a formal charge or indictment in Jessamine court records. The Herald-Leader normally does not identify alleged victims of rape, but Katherine Hurst and her husband, Michael, agreed to be identified in February when the paper initially reported that lawsuit.

Katherine Hurst did not immediately report the attack, the lawsuit said, because she thought her employment would be terminated if she complained.

Meanwhile, in the lawsuit filed Monday, former EMS employee Lt. Tina Griggs alleges that in 2002, Domidion "jumped into her bed" in the female dorm room and rubbed his genitals on her leg. "Tina pushed him away and made it clear she was highly offended," the lawsuit says. "Tina, extremely embarrassed and humiliated by Domidion's actions, did not immediately report the sexual assault because she felt her employment would be terminated if she complained. ... Domidion also made it clear to Tina that she would regret ever reporting or otherwise discussing his sexual assault and misconduct."

The suit also names Jessamine Fiscal Court and Cassity as defendants.

In other developments, new allegations are included in 37 pages of answers to questions posed to Katherine Hurst, and in a deposition filed as part of another lawsuit by former employee Andrew Wood.

In the 37 pages of answers filed Wednesday, Katherine Hurst alleges that Domidion made "sexually offensive gestures" — including simulation of oral sex and sexual intercourse — frequently.

The records allege that on numerous occasions between 2003 and 2010, Domidion "would grind and rub up against" Hurst "while on emergency calls when she was attending to patients in the back of the ambulance."

Other allegations are contained in a nearly 200-page deposition filed in connection with a 2012 suit filed by Andrew Wood, an emergency medical services employee who was fired in January of that year. In that suit, Wood says Domidion retaliated against him after Wood had expressed support for Griggs, who had filed an internal sexual-harassment complaint against Domidion.

In the deposition filed earlier this month, April Michelle Jenkins, a lieutenant shift commander with the emergency medical services, said Domidion also made sexual gestures and that other women had complained of sexual harassment. Jenkins also testified that Domidion referred to her as a "heifer."

At one point during the deposition, J. Robert Cowan, an attorney who represents Wood and Hurst, asked Jenkins: "Are you concerned about being here and providing all this testimony?"

Jenkins told him she was concerned "because in the past it has been shown anybody that opposes Jerry in any way, shape or form ends up losing their job."

Domidion was named 2013 EMS director of the year by the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association East Region, which comprises 22 counties including all of Central Kentucky.

Domidion's tenure with Jessamine County Emergency Services began in 1996 as a paramedic. During his tenure, the county emergency medical services introduced a cost-effective billing system and created a preventive maintenance program for trucks and equipment.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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