PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- A recent lawsuit accuses the Pasco County Sheriff's Office of abusing its powers and showing retaliation within the sheriff's office.
When the lawsuit was first filed in April, it had one current and two former employees of the sheriff's office listed as the plaintiff. On Thursday, the lawsuit grew to 20 plaintiffs.
The suit names Sheriff Chris Nocco and several of his top staffers. They were all accused of showing a pattern of racketeering within the sheriff's office.
According to the suit, a female deputy complained that Sergeant Richard Jones and Sergeant Marc Erickson, both with the sheriff's office, were not letting her or other women to give instructions on several training classes because they were women.
Christopher Squitieri, then-coordinator for new member orientations with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, received the female deputy's complaint. Squitieri approached Sgt. Jones and Sgt. Erickson and told them he was going to allow the female deputy and other women with proper teaching certifications to teach the classes.
After the female deputy and other women were allowed to teach the classes they were certified to teach in, Sgt. Jones and Sgt. Erickson retaliated by making sure every time Squitieri was not the lead supervisor for a class, they would intentionally schedule a male deputy to teach the same classes the female deputy and other women showed interest in teaching, according to the suit.
The suit also said when the "defendants did not get what they wanted, they retaliated against the plaintiffs and confidential informant with internal departmental investigations intended to ruin their careers and in some instances, prevent them from gaining employment with any other law enforcement agency."
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:
"It is important to note that these previous lawsuits were also filed by Attorney John McGuire. We would hope any media organizations looking into these allegations would allow the legal process to be completed. Our response in court will answer all questions and, once the facts come out in court, we are confident these allegations will be proven false."
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