Karen Mallory, a former deputy clerk at the Davidson County Circuit Court, has filed a lawsuit against Richard Rooker, accusing him of over a decade of sexual assault.
The lawsuit states that sexual harassment and abuse began a year after Mallory was hired as a deputy clerk in 2005. Rooker summoned her to his office for a meeting and allegedly “unexpectedly, astonishingly and outrageously requested Mallory to kiss him.” She said she reluctantly complied because she didn’t think there were any other alternatives at the time.
Then, according to the lawsuit, Rooker forced Mallory to perform oral sex. He also allegedly forced her to perform sexual intercourse on at least two occasions. These sexual encounters continued once a week until February 2018.
Mallory alleges that the “hostile sexual harassment work environment” caused her to be discharged early, reducing her pension. She also says she has had professional treatment for the “severe and disabling psychological and physical injuries.”
Rooker’s lawyer, Hal Hardin, said that Rooker was “quite surprised” by the lawsuit and that he anticipates filing a response soon.
Metro Government is a co-defendant in the lawsuit. Director of Law Jon Cooper declined to make a comment.
“Metro Government takes all such concerns seriously, and the Personnel Committee in particular focuses on legislation and other actions to ensure that all Metro Government employees feel safe and respected in the workplace,” said Metro Councilmember Brett Withers.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, $1 million in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.