The Missouri Supreme Court this week upheld one part of Independence Chief of Police Brad Halsey's appeal in connection with alleged sexual assault and harassment but allowed one claim to continue forward in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The case is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 21.
Halsey had appealed for a writ of prohibition regarding statute of limitations for the claims in a civil suit, filed in May 2018 by a former crime analyst in the Police Department. The woman alleges she “was subjected to repeated instances of sexually charged and assaultive behavior” in 2012 and into 2013. Several of the alleged incidents involved Halsey, and the woman said she resigned as a result of the last incident.
The two sides argued before the Supreme Court in February over when the two-year statute of limitations – two years for assault and battery and five years for emotional distress – could be applied. In court documents, the woman said she didn't fully appreciate the extent of the alleged assault and battery until the “Me Too” movement became prominent in the fall of 2017. Circuit Judge Jennifer Phillips had denied Halsey's initial motion to dismiss the case last year, leading to the Supreme Court appeal.
The court ruled that the assault and battery claim is time-barred because of specified times of the alleged actions, but the claim for emotional distress is allowed because all of the conduct leading to that claim did not specifically happen outside May 2013 – the five-year window.
Soon after the woman filed suit in May 2018, the city of Independence announced it had hired an outside agency to conduct an investigation “due to the serious nature of the allegations” and that, being a personnel matter, the findings would not be made public.
City Manager Zach Walker confirmed in September that investigation had been completed and could resume if new evidence arose. Halsey has continued to serve as chief of police since the suit was filed.
Walker added that the city's legal bill would not exceed the $25,000 insurance deductible. The city initially was named in the suit but later dismissed from it.