A sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a Sitka police officer has been scheduled for trial.
Mary Ferguson will have her day in court in March, 2020.
Any chance of hearing the case earlier was thwarted by another high-profile trial: Final litigation over the 2015 landslides in Sitka, which could take six full weeks this fall.
At a scheduling hearing in Sitka Superior Court on Tuesday (2-19-19) Judge Trevor Stephens could not find any time in the near future to hear the case, which is expected to take two weeks. The earliest date that fit everyone’s calendars was the spring of next year: March 2-13, 2020.
Ferguson was placed on paid administrative leave after filing her suit last fall. She says her status was changed to unpaid administrative leave in December. She has since taken a job with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and is trying to lead as normal a life as possible.
She told KCAW, “I don’t want my children to be affected by this.”
Ferguson, a patrol officer with the Sitka Police Department, filed suit on October 11, 2018, alleging that she had been sexually harassed and discriminated against in the workplace.
Just two months earlier, in August, fellow officer Ryan Silva filed suit alleging that he had been demoted for blowing the whistle on improper procurement practices in the the department, and for supporting Ferguson, whom he is involved with in a dating relationship.
Silva’s case is scheduled for a two-week trial in Sitka beginning September 16.
The City of Sitka has denied all the allegations.
The main obstacle to an earlier date for Ferguson is a six-week trial scheduled for November to resolve the final outstanding issues in the deadly landslides in Sitka four years ago.
The two affected homeowners have settled their cases, as has the family of the Diaz brothers, who died in the August 18, 2015 slides.
Only the case by Sound Development against the City of Sitka remains. Sound Development claims that the city failed to adequately disclose the geotechnical risks when it sold several large parcels in the area to the developer.
A settlement conference forin the case is scheduled in Seattle next month.
Ferguson is undeterred by having her harassment suit pushed back by several months. She told KCAW, “We’re not giving up.”
She has taken her case public on social media, with the Mary Ferguson v. City of Sitka Police Department Lawsuit page on Facebook.