October 17, 2002

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Village agrees to pay $22,000—Former officer, Village settle suit

Former Yellow Springs police officer Kimberly D. Monhollen and the Village last month settled Monhollen’s sexual harassment lawsuit, avoiding a court battle.

According to the settlement agreement, the Village agreed to pay Monhollen $22,000. Monhollen agreed to drop her suit, which claimed she suffered sexual harassment while she was a member of the Yellow Springs Police Department. Monhollen originally wanted $600,000 in damages.

In the agreement, the Village “expressly” denied the allegations claimed in the suit.

In a statement released as part of a report presented at Village Council’s meeting earlier this month, Village Manager Rob Hillard said the Village agreed to settle the suit after its insurance company decided it was “less costly than continuing to pay legal fees and other litigation expenses.”

“The decision was based purely on economics, and not upon the merits of the case. The Village reluctantly decided to accept the insurance company’s decision,” Hillard said in the statement.

Both Hillard and Police Chief Jim Miller said had the case gone to court the Village would have won. “The Village strongly believes that it did absolutely nothing wrong, and had the litigation proceeded to a final judgment, the Village and its employees would have prevailed,” Hillard said.

But Monhollen also contended in an interview Tuesday that she would have won had the suit gone to court. She said she agreed to settle the case because it was the “closest” the Village would come to admitting Monhollen’s allegations were true.

Monhollen said she did not file her suit to benefit financially, but instead she said she sued the Village to bring to light problems she believes exist at the Police Department. Monhollen said she had hoped her suit would change the way female police officers are treated in the department, though she said she is not sure she accomplished that goal.

The settlement was reached in September after both parties held at least one settlement conference a month earlier. It was accepted by Greene County Common Pleas Court, where the case was filed, on Oct. 1, the day the suit was set to go to court.

Monhollen worked for the Police Department from March 1994 to September 1998. According to court documents, she was originally selected as a clerk-dispatcher, became a part-time officer in April 1994, and in October 1995 was promoted to full-time status. Since she left, no female officers have been hired with the Police Department.

In her suit, Monhollen claimed that once she became a full-time member of the police force she was subjected to both disparate treatment because she is a woman, and a “hostile environment based upon her sex.” It also claimed she was wrongfully discharged by the Village.

Monhollen originally filed the suit in March 1999 but then later voluntarily dismissed it. She refiled the suit in March 2001.

The suit named the Village, Miller, former Manager David Heckler and Hillard, who was not with the Village when Monhollen was an officer here, as defendants.


—Robert Mihalek