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Investigation reports detail harassment allegations against two former Davis County cops

Posted at 5:36 PM, May 17, 2018

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — Newly obtained investigative reports obtained by Fox 13 News detail allegations of harassment on the part of two former law enforcement officers in Davis County.

The release of the reports comes a short time after the release of reports in which three deputies in the department were called a “sexual harassment trio.”

The first pair of reports relate to Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Varela. In one report a woman tells investigators she and Varela were involved in an affair and described several sexual encounters she says occurred while the man was on duty.

The woman says that Varela continued to text and call her after the affair ended. Varela denied having a sexual relationship with the woman but acknowledged he “maybe kissed her.” He admitted to returning home while on duty but denied having sex at those times and said he is not the only sheriff’s employee to go home while on duty.

Investigators found the claims of harassment were substantiated and said copies of text messages showed Varela continued to contact the woman after the affair ended. They say earlier text messages substantiate the fact the two were intimately involved.

The complaint was made in December of 2016.

The second investigation involving Varela is regarding a complaint made in January of 2017. A woman tells investigators she and Varela were in a relationship but that he mistreated her. She broke up with the man but says he continued to pester her with text messages, phone calls and visits to her home.

Investigators found more than 200 calls and texts from Varela since the initial incident in which he attempts to convince the woman to continue their relationship.

Investigators say that Varela did not attend the interview scheduled for January 19 of 2017 to discuss the allegations, and instead resigned his position about an hour before. The investigators found the claims of harassment were substantiated.

The other officer accused of harassment is Lt. Ken Hammon and the date of that complaint is August 11, 2017. Numerous employees told investigators that Hammon was enthusiastic about teaching self-defense and would often demonstrate moves on employees, even after they declined to participate or said they were uncomfortable.

One woman told investigators that a conversation about kick-boxing with Hammon quickly turned into an unwanted demonstration of self-defense, during which she says Hammon advised her to “grab, twist and pull [an attacker’s] testicles if she were attacked and to “never end up on her stomach” if a man tried to rape her.

The woman said the comments made her uncomfortable and that she felt like Hammon perceived her as weak.

Other witnesses described similar encounters where Hammon was enthusiastic about demonstrating self-defense moves on people who did not welcome such contact. Some of those who were interviewed said that those who complained about such behavior were retaliated against by Hammon.

One witness described the alleged retaliation.

“‘he’ll rip you a new one’ with write-ups, poor evaluations, denying leave requests, denying special assignments or training and assigning poor schedules” the investigation report states.

The investigation concluded that while there some positive comments about Hammon’s conduct, they found that at the very least he was unclear about when certain interactions are appropriate and how his position influences his interactions with other employees. They note that while a discussion of rape or a physical strike may be appropriate in a formal defense class, it is not appropriate behavior elsewhere.

The investigators found that 12 of the 14 allegations against Hammon were supported while two others were inconclusive.

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office says they were considering terminating Hammon, but Hammon resigned before they reached a decision.