- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Past employees of a former Virginia sheriff have said that he used the job for personal benefit, such as hiring his future wife’s relatives and having his deputies campaign for him.

Ex-Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe denies any wrongdoing, the Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/2oczkgz) reported. He has not been charged with any crimes and declined to comment to the newspaper, which ran its article on Sunday.

Christina Pullen, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s regional office, would not comment on whether McCabe is under any type of investigation. The FBI typically would handle any public corruption probe.

McCabe abruptly resigned in December without explanation after more than two decades as sheriff. Four months earlier, he said he’d seek a seventh term.

The Pilot spoke with nearly 30 current and former staffers and filed about 20 Freedom of Information Act requests with government agencies for its article.

The newspaper reported several alleged instances of sexual harassment. Former employees also claimed he used an inmate to fix up properties owned by McCabe or his future wife.

As sheriff, McCabe oversaw the jail, courthouse security and the serving of legal papers in Virginia’s second largest city. He earned nearly $180,000 a year and supervised a department with about 460 employees and a budget of $35.3 million.

“It got to a point where - and I always told him this - he forgot where he came from,” Penny Dunn, a former friend and secretary, told the newspaper. “He was so completely corrupted by the power and the money.”

As sheriff, Dunn said McCabe called her late at night and invited her to his hot tub. After rejecting him, Dunn said she got word through her supervisor that McCabe planned to transfer her, put her on the night shift and cut her pay. She resigned.

Former employees said they were recruited to help with McCabe’s re-election campaigns.

Former deputy Ernest Pohrte said he knocked on doors for McCabe and worked the polls in street clothes. The work is allowed if employees are off duty and not in uniform. But Pohrte said he felt pressured to stay on his boss’s good side and never got back any comp or vacation time.

“You were just expected to work them,” he said. “Or put it this way: You volunteered to be in favor with the sheriff.”

McCabe also called upon employees to pick him up at bars after he had been drinking.

“He would give me a call at 11 o’clock at night, saying, ‘I need a ride,’ ” said Kenneth Darling, a former sergeant. “That’s the reason I had a sheriff’s car. I’ve driven him home many a night.”

Darling also said he once drove a jail inmate to work on a multiday renovation project at McCabe’s house.

McCabe also hired the husband of his future wife’s sister as a deputy recruit.

Bill Partain, a former lieutenant colonel, said no background check was done on the man, who left after less than three months when a misdemeanor assault conviction was discovered on his record.

The Virginian-Pilot wrote that it had no evidence that the man or other relatives of McCabe’s future wife were unqualified for their positions or that they did not do their jobs well.

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