COQUILLE — A former Coos County deputy district attorney has filed suit against Coos County and District Attorney Paul Frasier for wrongful termination and retaliation for whistleblowing.
Michael Chartrey, a deputy DA prosecuting major felonies and sex crimes from Feb. 14, 2013 to June 29, 2015, alleges he complained to Frasier and the county's human resources department about unlawful activity of another deputy DA on or about June 14 and 15.
In his complaint, Chartrey alleges he approached Frasier with the following information about the deputy DA in question:
- Bullying, harassing and/or intimidating coworkers;
- Searching through private personnel and confidential employment records;
- Driving a county vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants;
- Harassing and/or creating a hostile workplace environment for women.
Alleging Frasier attempted to dissuade him from disclosing information, Chartrey then contacted the human resources department, an act which he believes substantially factored in his termination.
"Prior to his termination, Defendants discouraged, restrained and attempted to dissuade Plaintiff from disclosing the information alleged in paragraphs 4, 11 and 12, by Defendant Frasier threatening to take Plaintiff's resignation if he persisted in informing Defendants of alleged behavior by a fellow deputy attorney," the complaint said.
With the litigation pending, Frasier would not comment on the specific allegations other than a short refutation.
"I can't comment on this because of the pending litigation other than to say I deny the allegations and look forward to defending this in a fair trial," Frasier said.
In a termination letter dated on June 29, Frasier cited several reasons for his decision to release Chartrey. Among them:
- "At least 20 criminal cases assigned to you were neglected for such a period of time that the statute of limitations on those cases has expired;
- "Your behavior in regards to (redacted) and (redacted) was not professional and in my judgement, has been detrimental to the collegiality within the office;
- "Your presentation to me of incorrect information as to the conduct of (redacted);
- "inappropriately made to court staff a comment that communicated you are not fully occupied or engaged with work tasks;
- "neglected in the (redacted) and (redacted) cases to ensure that the victims were afforded their rights to be present and heard at the sentencing proceedings in those cases;
- "inappropriately sent witnesses home and pulled from grand jury consideration the (redacted) cases."
Chartrey did not respond to multiple inquiries for comment.
Represented by Portland based firm Busse & Hunt, Chartrey's lawsuit seeks $650,000 in damages, $400,000 of which comes from emotional distress and $250,000 in economic losses.
Chartrey joined the Salem law office of Michael E. Knapp, P.C. in September as an associate attorney.