ABERDEEN — An Aberdeen woman has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging sexual harassment by former Electric Department manager Adrian Garth.
Regina Dangerfield filed suit Tuesday in Mississippi”s Northeastern District of federal court in Aberdeen claiming Garth demanded sex for payment in June 2007 when Dangerfield, described in the complaint as a “poor person, whose only income is from Social Security benefits and child support,” could not afford to pay her electric bill.
When the plaintiff repeatedly refused Garth”s demands, the complaint alleges he had her electricity turned off.
Dangerfield called a meeting with then Mayor Cecil Belle and three aldermen reported to be Ward 1 Alderman Alonzo Sykes, Ward 2 Alderman Cloyd Garth and former Ward 3 Alderman Willie Cook.
Cloyd Garth and Sykes were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
During the meeting, Adrian Garth “made disrespectful disparaging remarks to the mayor and told the mayor the plaintiff was a ”liar,”” when confronted with the allegations.
The suit claims Adrian Garth inflated Dangerfield”s electric bills in retaliation for reporting her claims to the city.
Dangerfield is seeking actual and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees, from Garth, Berkley Surety Group, LLC, and Old Republic Surety Company, the bonding companies for Garth, for causing her “extreme stress and anxiety because of the sexual harassment.” She is represented by attorney Jim Waide.
Adrian Garth has been at the center of a years-long scandal involving the Aberdeen Electric Department. The case, which remains under investigation, has resulted in the arrest of several individuals, including Adrian Garth, the trial and dismissal of charges against an Aberdeen pastor and multiple additional lawsuits.
The majority of arrests were based on charges of felonious theft of public utilities. Following Adrian Garth”s arrest on felony extortion charges in 2009, Mayor Jim Ballard served as electric department manager for a time, during which he was arrested for bribery before the charges were dropped.
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