- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Claims of sexual and racial discrimination raised in a lawsuit by two former employees are inaccurate and unsubstantiated, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said Wednesday.

The Topeka Democrat said in a phone interview that the lawsuit had nothing to do with his decision, announced earlier this month, not to seek re-election. He made it clear when he ran that he would only serve two terms, he said.

Recent filings in the 2012 federal lawsuit have made public alleged sexist comments and other issues that the two women contend created a hostile work environment. Those details surfaced as Taylor seeks to have the case decided in his favor.

The filings were first reported by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Krystal Boxum-Debolt and Lisa Anne Moore worked in the office’s victim/witness unit from January 2009 until they were fired in August 2010.

They contend in a recent court filing that Taylor has a propensity to use “insulting and intensely degrading language and sexual epithets” to describe women. To support that claim, the women rely on a deposition from Dakota Loomis, who was then chief of staff for the district attorney. Loomis has been romantically involved with Boxum-Debolt since 2009 and married her in 2013, according to his deposition testimony.

The women also allege they were fired in retaliation a month after expressing concern on behalf of another worker about the lack of a private room in the office for nursing mothers. Taylor testified that he was unaware that they were the ones who brought that concern to his chief of staff until the lawsuit was filed.

That court filing is “nothing more than muckraking,” Taylor said in the phone interview, adding he looks forward to the judge having an opportunity to review the pleadings and issue a summary judgment.

His attorney, David Cooper, wrote in a court filing Monday that the district attorney’s office at the time had about 70 employees, a majority which were women. The chief deputy district attorney is female.

“These facts belie any contention that Taylor believes that all woman are ‘crazy, irrational, and stupid’ or that Taylor wishes he could ‘fire all the women’ who work in his office,” his attorney argued. He also denied allegations that Taylor engaged in or condoned race-based discriminatory conduct as district attorney.

Taylor said in his deposition that he fired the two women after learning they were plotting to get their supervisor fired and that both of them had made derogatory and unprofessional comments about co-workers using the county’s email system.

In an earlier filing, his attorney argued that Taylor became aware in July 2010 of “serious dysfunction” in the victim/witness unit of the district attorney’s office, and learned of the inappropriate emails by the two women. He concluded the situation was “toxic and irreconcilable,” and their employment was terminated. Within two months, everyone employed in that unit was gone.

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