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November 23, 2014

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Law Enforcement:

Another deputy charges discrimination in Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

One day after a Sun story detailed a sexual discrimination complaint filed against Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura, a deputy mentioned in the story found himself under investigation for an incident in May.

In response, Constable’s Deputy Ray Jacoby filed a discrimination complaint Monday with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Office and the Clark County Office of Diversity. He and his lawyer believe the investigation is the result of religious discrimination and retaliation.

Dean Lauer, deputy chief constable, said Monday the office had not yet seen Jacoby’s complaint and, in any case, could not comment about ongoing investigations.

Jacoby alleges the investigation stems partly from his mention in an Aug. 8 Sun story about a sexual discrimination complaint filed by his girlfriend, former Constable’s Deputy Kristy Henderson, the only female deputy in the office. (The story appeared first Aug. 5 on lasvegassun.com.)

Henderson filed the complaint, which outlines numerous allegations of sexual harassment, in July after she was fired. She also alleged her termination was retaliation because she stood up for Jacoby, arguing that the constable suspended Jacoby for five days in June without following state-outlined procedures.

Jacoby is still fighting for back pay and attorneys fees related to the suspension. His attorney, Benjamin Scroggins, said the Constable’s Office had denied any wrongdoing. In response, Scroggins said he would file a legal request in Clark County District Court for injunctive relief.

Scroggins also is representing Jacoby in fighting the recent misconduct allegation, which he learned of last week.

In an Aug. 9 memorandum, one day after the Sun story about Henderson, Constable’s Lt. Hadi Sadjadi wrote that Jacoby was being investigated for “allegations of misconduct” stemming from a May 11 incident. The allegation is that Jacoby “requested confidential records of a person, which are accessible through a secured computer link that requires authorized access.”

Scroggins said the constable was to conduct a hearing on the misconduct allegations today. Scroggins added that the alleged misconduct was “not the kind of thing that normally results in this kind of disciplinary action.”

He sees the investigation of his client as “a pretty clear case of retaliation.”

In his complaint, Jacoby wrote: “After a newspaper article ... alluding to the fact that Deputy Kristy Henderson and myself were dating ... very shortly after this article appeared, I was formally placed under investigation August 10, 2012, for an alleged violation that occurred around May 11, 2012.”

In his EEOC complaint, Jacoby also said he believed he was being discriminated against because he is Jewish. In doing so, he refers to the Sun story about Henderson’s sexual discrimination complaint. In that story, Henderson alleged that in June and July 2012, she was in Bonaventura’s office with two other employees, when one of them said: “The office needs to have its female (Henderson), its Jew (Ray) and its black (another employee named).”

The Aug. 9 memo doesn’t mention the newspaper article. It does, however, order Jacoby not to disseminate any information related to the investigation, an order that applies even “after the investigation is completed.”

“By sharing information you gain from your participation in the investigation, you may potentially harm the reputation of other employees or the effectiveness of the Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office,” the memo says. It also says that violating that order “may result in a new allegation of misconduct against you.”

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