City of Martinsburg settles lawsuit with female police officer


A lawsuit filed by a Martinsburg Police officer claiming the city had been negligent in retaining a male officer after he allegedly sexually harassed her has been settled for $270,000.

City Attorney Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre III told the Herald Mail the payment to Cpl. Marybeth Cole and the Huntington, W.Va., law firm that represented her in the case was made via the city’s insurance carrier, which handled the lawsuit on the city’s behalf and covered the legal expenses.

The lawsuit claimed the city was liable for the officer’s actions, and contended that city officials failed to adequately investigate and respond to the misconduct that was substantiated.

Cole’s lawsuit, which was filed in March 2014 in Berkeley County Circuit Court, was dismissed May 13 under the agreement.

The agreement states that “the payment made is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the defendant (the City of Martinsburg), by whom liability is expressly denied, and that by entering into the (agreement), the defendant intends merely to avoid litigation or appeal and the costs incidental thereto, and to buy its peace.”


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