- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Attorney General Jim Hood says Mississippi government agencies can’t keep legal settlements secret, but leaders of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics say their hands are tied by a federal judge’s order.

The bureau in June settled a federal lawsuit brought by employee Mary Katherine Sullivan alleging deputy director Mike Perkins and others sexually harassed her, creating a hostile work environment.

Bureau Director Sam Owens said Wednesday that U.S. Magistrate Judge John Roper ordered parties to keep the agreement confidential, saying he can’t overrule a federal judge.

Perkins retired Aug. 4.

Hood says state lawyers have previously inserted a statement in settlements saying that plaintiffs must keep such documents private to the extent provided by law. His office says there is no duty of confidentiality on the part of state government.

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This story has been corrected to clarify actions by state lawyers.

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