UPDATE 4:55pm: Spirit Lake Police Chief Patrick Lawless resigns form his position amid sexual harassment suit. City sources confirm to KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus, the Spirit Lake police chief has resigned his position effective Wednesday, nearly 5 months after a sexual harassment tort claim was filed. KHQ reached out to Mayor Todd Clary who said Lawless has resigned his position for "personal reasons" and is no longer employed by the city. KHQ also reached out to Patrick Lawless but calls were not returned. The former chief was also being investigated for child abuse allegations in Post Falls involving his girlfriends children. No charges were ever filed against Lawless. KHQ has also confirmed another female police officer is now being represented by the same attorney for Crystal Sudol a former Spirit Lake police officer who filed the initial sexual harassment tort claim against Lawless. PREVIOUS COVERAGE: SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho - Spirit Lake Police Chief Patrick Lawless on administrative leave amid a sexual harassment suit. City sources confirm to KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus the Spirit Lake police chief has been placed on administrative leave but would not specify if it was paid or un-paid. KHQ reached out to Mayor Todd Clary who placed Lawless on leave, but Clary said "I will not comment on personnel issues," and would not say exactly why Lawless was placed on leave. KHQ also reached out to Patrick Lawless but calls were not returned. KHQ has also confirmed another female police officer is now being represented by the same attorney for Crystal Sudol, a former Spirit Lake police officer who filed the initial sexual harassment tort claim against Lawless. PREVIOUS COVERAGE
SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho- The Chief of Police in Spirit Lake, Pat Lawless, is being accused of sexual harassment and being investigated by Post Falls Police.
A tort claim seeking 5 million dollars in damages was filed by former Spirit Lake police officer Crystal Sudol. The claim states that Sudol endured sexual harassment both verbal and physical from Chief Lawless during her time working at the department. In the claim Sudol says the Chief "created a hostile working environment for females and did batter and assault Sudol".
Spirit Lake Mayor Todd Clary is also coming under fire in the claim which states "the mayor took great lengths to sweep this matter under the rug" even after Sudol had went to Clary with her concerns. It claims Clary and Lawless are good friends and that's why there was no action taken. The complaint states that Sudol was told by the Mayor that "if there wasn't a sexual touching, it wasn't sexual harassment", and if it was sexual touching Lawless would have "been immediately fired."
KHQ spoke with Chief Pat Lawless over the phone who said "I would really love to be able to defend myself, but its best we don't make any comments on this right now." KHQ also asked Lawless if he believes he should step down as police Chief, he replied "well I don't want to make a comment on that right now, we will have to see how this all plays out." Phone calls to Mayor Todd Clary and voice mails were not returned.
According to Lawless Crystal Sudol was a police officer at Spirit Lake from March 2011 to November 2011, that's when, according to the tort claim Sudol was "constructively discharged from her position of employment."