- In the fall of 2016, it is alleged Lt. William Huffor sexually harassed a female employee at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC). We have the name of the victim, but decided not to publish it for her privacy. According to our source, an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation was completed by Sgt. Bill Otto who “Sustained” the allegations. The case was then turned over directly to Bill Elder.
Lt. Huffor is Bill Elder’s protege and the husband of his “chief of staff” Janet Huffor (who was Bill Elder’s campaign manager). On his first day in office, Bill Elder promoted William Huffor to Sergeant, and approximately one year later promoted him to Lieutenant even though he was ranked near the bottom of the original promotion list. (view promotion lists)
By policy, all sworn employees must go in front of the Disciplinary Action Board (DAB). This board, created by Bill Elder to establish a fair process for determining disciplinary actions was quickly and conveniently dissolved shortly after Lt. Huffor’s investigation was completed. Was this done because Bill Elder was afraid of the board’s possible recommendation? According to him a yearly review of the board was completed in September and they decided to get rid of it. How convenient for Lt. Huffor.
It is our understanding Lt. Huffor was not even transferred away from the victim. This is unbelievable. Plus, when there is an allegation of a sex crime the Sheriff’s office is obligated to conduct a criminal investigation. Did a criminal investigation take place? Were charges brought against Lt. Huffor? Was the District Attorney’s office consulted? The Sheriff’s Office will not even admit there was a complaint against Lt. Huffor.
It is our understanding that multiple media outlets received an anonymous letter concerning the allegations and some contacted the Sheriff’s Office for more details; what they received was a deceptive response suggesting there was no sexually related investigation concerning Lt. Huffor. When an organization tries to mislead you; you know there is something there.
Go read the article in the Colorado Springs Independent in the third paragraph where the county responds to the allegations in the anonymous letter with; “As to allegations made in one letter that a female deputy was “forced to a full physical touching of her entire body captured on jail security video” and subject to multiple “sexually explicit text messages,” the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that no evidence exists to support these claims, and no member of the Sheriff’s office has made these claims.”
This is a completely deceptive response. They specifically use these words to dodge the truth. They never deny there was a complaint for sexual harassment or inappropriate touching by a female employee against Lt. Huffor. They never deny there is a video supporting her allegations. They never deny that after an investigation was completed the allegations were “sustained”. Ask them a simple question; “Was there a complaint against Lt. Huffor and what was the results of that investigation?” At this point, you cannot trust any answer you get from the Sheriff’s Office. In our opinion, it appears they are trying to cover up. There has to be an independent investigation.
What about the victim? It appears a female employee was subjected to sexual harassment that was confirmed by an internal investigation and Bill Elder did not even move the supervisor who committed the offense. We have confirmed Lt. Huffor is still her supervisor. This is a huge financial liability for the county. The victim has a potential lawsuit just for that alone. What happens if he does it again? We would recommend the female employee find an attorney as quickly as possible.
In our opinion, the only way to get to the truth is by an independent criminal investigation of both Lt. Huffor and Sheriff Bill Elder.
We are disappointed the county does not appear concerned about protecting female employees from sexual harassment. You would think El Paso County, having made multiple large settlements to Sheriff’s Office employees and ex-employees recently, would want to start taking these allegations serious. Maybe the media should do a CORA request asking for all the settlements in the past 2 years?
What happened to Bill Elder’s “character counts campaign”? Is it no longer convenient?
UPDATE: It was brought to our attention by a source close to the Sheriff’s Office that when Bill Elder was in office for a year he commissioned a review concerning the “Organizational Assessment of the Sheriff’s Office.” This review was conducted by KRW a local company headed up by Loren Kramer, the retired Colorado Springs Police Chief and city manager. This review was of the Sheriff’s Office under Bill Elder’s leadership. The review was completed in the summer of 2015 and a report was generated. Link to press release about report. (REPORT) In this document (page 34) it clearly lays out the need for additional Sexual Harassment training. We are assuming they found something at the office that motivated them to make this recommendation. Was this recommendation taken serious and additional training provided to all staff? Does Bill Elder take Sexual Harassment serious? In our opinion, unless there is an independent investigation we will never know what really happened at the jail between a supervisor and an employee.
Additional Update: Our goal is to provide accurate information. We learned today that LT Burns is actually the victim’s supervisor; but LT Huffor is still present during her shift. Still a concern but we want to make sure our articles are accurate.