Police chief back at work after $145K harassment settlement

(Photo: City of Sylvester)

A rural southwest Georgia police chief accused of sexual harassment has returned to work after her suspension was overturned and the city of Sylvester reached a $145,000 settlement with her accuser.

Sylvester Police Chief Shawn Urquhart was accused in February of "intolerable sexual harassment and unwanted physical touching" by a 71-year-old employee, WALB-TV reported.

The city manager suspended Urquhart following an investigation, but the suspension was overturned on appeal following a hearing March 10. The hearing officer recommended Urquhart undergo sexual harassment training.

Meanwhile, the city agreed to a settlement that required the chief’s accuser to resign in exchange for a $145,000 payout.

Sylvester officials enacted new sexual harassment training and reporting policies for all city employees following the case against the police chief, said Sylvester City Manager Autron Hayes.

"If I would have believed that Chief Urquhart would have been a real serial sexual harasser, my punishment would have been more than suspension," Hayes said. "It would have been termination.


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