January 31, 2022

Kinne Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Former Eau Claire County District Attorney

Gingras, Thomsen and Wachs partner Paul Kinne has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King on behalf of our client, who worked as a victim witness coordinator for the county. In this role, she was forced to work closely with the Eau Claire District Attorney’s Office.

For more than a year, our client suffered abuses at the hands of Gary King. The lawsuit states that he made numerous sexual comments, which included instances where King suggested the two get a hotel room on the way to a breakfast meeting and have a threesome with another man.

There were additional instances of harassment where King pulled our client onto his lap, rubbed her foot when she had taken off her shoes, hugged her from behind while she sat at her desk and attempted to kiss her on the mouth.

Our client noted that King was frequently intoxicated while engaging in his abusive conduct towards her.

In the lawsuit, Kinne argues that our client was entitled to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and assault. However, she felt she was obligated to tolerate the harassment because of concern about what it would do to her job if she complained about it more vocally.

In February of 2021, our client did make a formal complaint to Eau Claire County human resources. However, she was told by the county’s corporation counsel that the county “could not touch him” because of King’s role as District Attorney.

A third-party investigation ordered by the HR department later that month concluded that King did make inappropriate comments to women.

Gov. Tony Evers then appointed a commissioner to investigate the claims of abuse made against King in June. Less than a month after this investigation began, King submitted his resignation. The investigation was then dropped by the governor’s office.

While our client does want justice for herself, she also hopes to be an example for other women who endure harassment for fear of what might happen to their careers.

“She hopes that by going forward with this action, she will make it easier for women in her situation to step forward and also make it less likely that people like Mr. King will engage in the kind of conduct that we saw here,” said Kinne.

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