Former DeWitt jail captain sues county, claims civil rights violations

A former DeWitt County jail captain has sued the county, accusing the county of violating her civil rights.

On March 2, Rose Sanchez filed suit in the federal court in Victoria saying she was "harassed based upon her gender and/or national origin beginning in the latter part of 2008," according to court documents.

Sanchez also claims retaliation in the lawsuit.

DeWitt County's attorney, Kevin Cullen, of Victoria, said the lawsuit is without foundation.

"Our position is that it is illogical to believe that she was discriminated against when she was promoted to the highest position in the jail and the captain she replaced was male and non-Hispanic," Cullen said.

The captain who replaced Sanchez is also a woman.

The plaintiff's complaint also states that Sanchez was "constructively terminated" on Aug. 20, 2009.

A legal term, constructively terminated means forced to quit due to an employer's actions.

According to court documents, Sanchez began work as a jailer in 2003 and was promoted to sergeant in 2005.

She was promoted to captain by Sheriff Jode Zavesky and was in charge of jail operations.

Sanchez claims she was harassed by Chief Deputy John Oglesby beginning in August 2008, and that her gender and national origins was the basis for the harassment.

Although she complained to the sheriff, the harassment was allowed to continue, according to the complaint.

Sanchez is seeking reinstatement, back pay and damages, including mental and emotional pain and suffering, according to court documents.

She has demanded a jury trial, according to the court documents.

Sanchez is represented by Chris McJunkin, of Corpus Christi. He did not return phone calls to the Advocate.

Cullen also noted that Sanchez's daughter was terminated two days before Sanchez quit, and believes that played a factor in her decision.

An initial conference on the case is scheduled for July 2 before U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey.