A former deputy to an embattled rural Nevada sheriff has filed a lawsuit in federal court against her former boss, accusing him of discrimination and violating equal employment laws.
Melanie Keener, a former deputy to Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, filed the civil lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against the county and Antinoro after receiving a “right to sue” letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June.
Such letters give those who file complaints with the agency the chance to file civil suits if the department has taken more than 180 days to investigate without filing charges. The letter does not indicate that the EEOC found any merit to the complaint.
The lawsuit contains similar provisions to a state court lawsuit that Keener filed against Antinoro in July 2017, in which she accused him of sending her sexually suggestive text messages during a 2015 law enforcement conference in Ely and then sharing explicit details of his sex life during a car ride back the next day.
Keener alleges in the suit that she was transferred from her position in the sheriff’s department after filing a sexual harassment complaint against Antinoro and was later transferred to a position at the county’s museum.
In a June 6 email obtained by The Nevada Independent via a public records request with the attorney general’s office, Antinoro said he wasn’t “perfect” but that Keener “instigated” the conversation and that it “took her eight months to be offended and say something about it.”
“Shame on me for believing her and engaging in a conversation that she instigated,” he said in the email. “The extent of my wrong will be judged by a court of law.”