Former Missouri prison guard who sued for sexual harassment, poisoning gets $800000 settlement

This story has been corrected to show that settlement was for $1.6 million.

JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri taxpayers are on the hook for another large payout after state officials settled a sexual harassment case brought by a female prison guard.

The state is paying $1.6 million in a lawsuit filed by former Missouri Department of Corrections officer Tina Gallego over allegations that male officers she worked with at the Kansas City Reentry Center sexually harassed and poisoned her, according to court and attorney general records.

The settlement is the latest in a list of six- and seven-figure payments connected with discrimination and harassment of women workers within the state’s sprawling prison system.

But, problems with harassment and discrimination are not limited to the state’s 21 lockups. Over the past five years, taxpayers have been charged more than $52 million to settle similar cases across the spectrum of state agencies.

Gallego alleged in her discrimination case that she was targeted by male co-workers in 2016 after she testified in court on behalf of a co-worker about harassment and discrimination.

At one point, after she had returned to work following an internal investigation of the allegations, Gallego said her can of soda had been tampered with, resulting in her vomiting and breaking out in a severe rash.

In her settlement Gallego receives $800,000 and her attorneys receive $800,000.

Gallego’s co-worker, Deborah Hesse, received a settlement of $1.92 million.

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