Settlement reached in case against Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff sued for discrimination

CCSO settles in lawsuit alleging harassment, discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation
Man claims Canyon County refused his bond so ICE could arrest him
Posted at 3:34 PM, Sep 18, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — In a statement released by the law firm representing Aleshea Boals, the whistleblower in the civil rights case filed against the Canyon County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Kieran Donahue alleging gender discrimination, a hostile work environment, discriminatory discharge, retaliation, and whistleblower retaliation, a settlement has been reached.

Boals was a former CCSO Victim Witness Coordinator, having worked in this position for 15 years, who filed a lawsuit in April 2022 claiming she was harassed and discriminated against based on her gender, and then "constructively discharged" after reporting on repeated incidents involving a detective who she believed was mistreating female sexual assault victims.

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As originally reported on Idaho News 6 when the lawsuit was filed, Boals reported and detailed incidents of a specific detective's discriminatory treatment of female victims and that the detective was not following victim interview protocols to Donohue and two other high-ranking officials.

Boals' lawsuit claimed she was then reprimanded for not following the proper chain of command, began receiving disciplinary reports for her job performance, and endured almost daily harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from the two high-ranking officials restricting her from doing her job.

The original lawsuit detailed that in October 2021, Boals sent an email to Donahue in hopes it would stop the alleged harassment and retaliation, as well as her concerns for protecting victim's rights. Donahue allegedly responded saying he was taking her concerns "very seriously."

In November 2021, Boals had applied for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act at the advice of her doctor. While on leave, her email access was cut off and the Canyon County Sheriff's Office instructed the Canyon County Deputies Association to change its passwords so Boals could not have access, despite being president of the association, according to the lawsuit.

In January 2022, Boals received a pre-termination letter saying her termination would be effective in two days.

Though Boals originally requested a jury trial in the lawsuit, the parties reached a settlement in favor of Boals, resulting in the Canyon County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Kieran Donahue agreeing to pay her $425,000 in damages and attorneys' fees, in addition to securing funding to conduct additional victim services training at CCSO.

In a statement released through her attorney, Boals says:

"After I left CCSO, I knew that the only chance I had to ensure that female victims are treated with dignity and respect was to file my lawsuit. I could not ask a victim to have the courage to come forward and face their abuser if I did not have the courage to stand up for the victim myself. I am glad that my efforts prevailed, and I hope that this lawsuit and this settlement have changed the way CCSO does business."

The full complaint can be read here.