A former Chattahoochee Hills police lieutenant has filed a federal lawsuit against the fledgling city, saying he was sexually harassed by the former city manager and then unfairly fired by the former police chief.
The suit by James Melton accuses former City Manager Carol Wolfe of making repeated and unprovoked sexual advances toward him when he worked under her supervision.
Melton also contends former Police Chief Damon Jones terminated him in September 2010 for refusing to lie in another police agency’s investigation of Jones in an unrelated case.
As a result of the termination, Melton’s police certification with the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council has been on hold, and he has been unable to work as a police officer, his attorney Jackie Patterson said.
“We’re asking that a jury rule that he was discriminated against because he wouldn’t have sex with the city manager,” Patterson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And we’re asking that they rule that he was retaliated upon by his former boss.”
Both Jones and Wolfe have since resigned from their respective positions with the city. Wolfe could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
But Jones, speaking by phone late Wednesday night, called Melton a troublemaker.
“Jamie Melton causes chaos in every department he’s been a part of,” Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Jamie Melton wanted my job and others wanted to give him my job. I tried to fire him several times, but the city manager wouldn’t allow it. I didn’t want to hire him, and I didn’t want to promote him, but the city manager encouraged it.”
Efforts to contact City Attorney Richard Lindsey and Mayor Tom Reed were unsuccessful Wednesday.
According to the suit, between December 2009 and September 2010, Wolfe approached Melton sexually in both professional and out-of-work settings and at one point invited him to stay with her in a room she had rented at Serenbe Farm House.
Melton repeatedly rebuffed Wolfe’s advances, however, acknowledging her position as Jones’ supervisor, and therefore Melton’s superior.
“It was inappropriate because that was my boss, and that would’ve been crossing the line,” Melton told Channel 2 Action News.
Whenever Melton consulted Jones for help with Wolfe’s behavior, Jones would only laugh and ask, “Is it any good?” the lawsuit claims, but never reported the behavior.
As for Jones, Melton in his suit accused the chief of asking him in July 2010 to lie to Newton County Sheriff’s investigators looking into allegations that Jones had given alcoholic drinks to a 19-year-old firefighter. Melton said he refused to do so, and later was fired.