Second woman accuses deputy of sexual harassment

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - A second woman came forward on Tuesday, accusing an Iredell County sheriff's deputy of sexually harassing her when he was supposed to be helping and protecting her.

Suzanne Wick filed a civil lawsuit in March. Lisa Mangiardi joined her on a new version of the lawsuit filed Monday night.

Now both women, who have filed suit against Deputy Richard "Ben" Jenkins and Iredell County Sheriff Philip Redmond, said both men should not be working. They said the sheriff was responsible for supervising Jenkins' behavior.

Mangiardi said she was horrified when she heard about Wick's case against Jenkins.

"I thought, ‘Oh my God, if I would have stood up and complained the first time this happened, it wouldn’t have happened to Suzanne,’" Mangiardi said.

She said in 2008, she filed a restraining order against her husband who she said was threatening to kill her and her children.

She said Jenkins invited her to his office to help her with it, but came onto her instead.

"He started grinding his hips asking me, ‘Don't you want this?’ I immediately said, 'No, I don't want this,'" Mangiardi said.

Mangiardi said he harassed her for months before she moved away from Statesville in 2009.

By then, Wick said Jenkins was already sexually harassing her as he worked on her domestic violence case. She said he even threatened to drop the charges against her husband if she kept turning him down.

"There's a definite pattern," Wick said.

Officials at the Iredell County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday said the sheriff was not in the office and that the lawsuit is in their attorney's hands.

County commissioner Renee Griffith said she is sure the board will discuss it.

"Anytime there's a lawsuit or a complaint of misconduct it does concern us," she said.

Mangiardi and Wick said they want commissioners to launch an investigation and any other women to step forward.

"I'm convinced that there's more women out there," Wick said.

Mangiardi and Wick's attorney, Josh Van Kampen, said he is now considering criminal charges as well.

Attorneys handling the cases for the sheriff’s department did not return requests for comment.