Crime

Fayette jail official vehemently denies sexual harassment allegations

Maj. Michael Korb of the Fayette County Detention Center on Tuesday vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a corporal at the jail in 2009.

Korb, 48, turned repeatedly to a Fayette Circuit Court jury and said "absolutely not" each time he was asked by attorneys whether an alleged incident of harassment had occurred.

Korb; Ron Bishop, a former director of the jail; and the local government were sued by Charlotte Trotter, an employee of the detention center, in November 2009. Trotter claims she was sexually harassed by Korb, then retaliated against when she reported the harassment. Korb was testifying Tuesday in a trial pertaining to that lawsuit.

Trotter, 50, contends that Korb once pulled her into him and said, "You know you want this." Another time, she said, he leaned into her, forcing his body weight on her, and touched her breast. She says he sexually harassed her on at least four occasions, beginning in early August 2009.

Korb said that he had known Trotter since about 2000, when she came to work at the jail, and that he had only a professional relationship with her. However, he said he and his ex-wife once gave Trotter about $75 because she was having money problems.

He said he gave her the money "out of the kindness of my heart."

Korb responded in the affirmative when asked if he thought any witness in the trial who corroborated Trotter's claims would not be truthful.

Korb told jurors he couldn't say whether he'd received up-to-date training on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace without looking at records. He said he received a letter about a human resources department investigation of Trotter's claims, which turned up inconclusive evidence or showed no substantiation of her accusations, and which did not recommend disciplinary action against him.

Korb, who was assigned to be one of Trotter's supervisors after the alleged incidents, also testified he sent a memo to his supervisor last August about Trotter sleeping on the job on one occasion, which included a recommendation that she be suspended.

Shane Sidebottom, Trotter's attorney, asked Korb why he was recommending 40- to 80-hour suspensions "with all of this going on?" Sidebottom also asked Korb whether he was aware that Trotter had just worked a 12-hour shift; Korb said he had no idea.

"Do you think that's fair?" Sidebottom asked about the suspension recommendation.

"I think that's extremely fair," Korb replied. "I have a duty to act, regardless of who it is."

He told the jury that detention center officers are required to work a minimum of 16 hours of overtime a week.

"We have a multitude of staff who are overworked and tired," he said. But he said it's very uncommon for an employee to fall asleep at work.

Korb, referring to the lawsuit, said "nasty" and "mean" allegations were made about him 21/2 years ago, and his parents, children and friends had read about those allegations.

"I've waited for 21/2 years to come in here and tell my side," he said.

Korb was the second witness in the trial, which began Monday. Trotter, who began testifying Monday, finished her testimony Tuesday.

Barbara Kriz, Korb's attorney, questioned Trotter about her home and car being repossessed and filing for bankruptcy several years before she filed the lawsuit. Trotter said money was not her motive in filing the suit.

Kriz also asked Trotter about seeing a mental health counselor, pointing out that Trotter had seen a counselor on several occasions, but not during the time Korb allegedly was harassing her.

"I was trying to deal with this all myself," Trotter said. She also said she thought the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government would handle issues with Korb.

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