HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A long-running legal battle on Kauai has ended in a $1.84 million settlement for a Kauai Police Department assistant chief.
Mark Begley sued the county and the KPD back in 2016, alleging he was was harassed and retaliated against by then KPD Chief Darryl Perry.
“This is a story of complete and absolute vindication," said Loretta Sheehan, who along with attorney Lyle Hosoda handled the lawsuit.
Begley’s suit alleges the harassment began in 2012 when he encouraged a female officer to file a sexual harassment complaint against another KPD assistant chief.
“They made him pay the price for over nine years. It’s just insane what this man went through," said Sheehan.
The Kauai PD controversy played out in headlines. Chief Perry was initially suspended by then-Mayor Bernard Carvalho for allegedly mishandling the sexual harassment complaint.
But after an appeals court put Chief Perry back in command, Sheehan said the chief and his subordinates retaliated against Begley with investigations intended to force him out. He eventually took stress leave in 2012.
Perry has said that the investigations were justified. But after he retired, Begley was reinstated last year . And last month, his suit was was settled out of court.
“When you see these big, high-value (settlements), it’s usually because they retaliated against the victim in the cases and that is absolutely not allowed," said attorney Victor Bakke, who has handled workplace harassment and racial discrimination suits against police departments.
In settling the case, Kauai County did not admit wrongdoing. Attorneys for the county had no immediate comment.
Retired Chief Perry said in an email to Hawaii News Now:
“While I can’t comment on the case itself, I can assure the community of Kauai that there was no retaliation. I had wanted to explain my side of the issue and have the opportunity to explain what happened because the claim of retaliation was not true.”
He continued, “The main reason for the settlement was because the insurance company did not want to incur anymore legal fees such as from attorney Ms. Loretta Sheehan (former HPD commissioner) and others.”
Perry added that he was more than willing to have the court decide on the case.