POLK COUNTY - Judge Beth Harlan was arrested after falsifying timesheets for former judicial assistant Alisha Rupp who was getting paid for hours she didn't work, according to a Polk County affidavit. Alisha is also being charged with one count of filing a false police report claiming she was battered by bailiff Bubba Maxcy.
Alisha, 33, recently made headlines after she claimed she was fired as a 55-year-old Harlan's judicial assistant in July because she complained about sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. She even claimed she caught another judge, Judge Susan Flood having sex with Maxcy.
The affidavit revealed Harlan and Rupp had been close friends for 15 years and their friendship began when Harlan was still a lawyer. Once she became a judge, Rupp became Harlan's assistant in 2006.
Alisha's husband Alvin Rupp had a conversation with Harlan before Alisha took the job, saying his wife's duties as a mother comes first and she would need flexible hours. Harlan said as long as Alisha got the work done, she had free reign over her schedule.
The promise was made disregarding the state's rules relating to judicial assistants—a 40 hour work week, 8 hours a day, with one unpaid lunch hour.
According to another judge, Judge Bruce Smith, employees complained of Alisha constantly taking off work, and floaters constantly having to cover for her. The hours Rupp took for sick time and that of the floater coverage didn't match, and it became apparent she was working less hours then she claimed. Yet Harlan approved of Alisha's timesheets when she was fully aware they weren't accurate.
The affidavit also revealed that Alisha recanted sexual harassment claims she made against James Bubba Maxcy, who she initially said cornered her in a bathroom, forcibly rubbed and kissed all over her body. But in a second interview, her story wasn't matching up with evidence already collected. She took a break, and after being advised from her attorney, she admitted that she and Maxcy were flirtatious and had a consensual sexual encounter. They also kissed and petted frequently, while at work, choosing to go where there were no cameras.
When asked why she made such damaging accusations, she admitted the allegations boosted her claims of sexual harassment after she was fired. She also wanted to hide her relationship with Maxcy outside of work. It wasn't clarified whether the allegations against Judge Flood and Maxcy were true. In addition to falsifying a police report, she is charged with perjury for intentionally lying under oath to investigators.
Harlan was charged with scheming to defraud and grand theft. Each charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. She was released without having to post bail.