Woman alleges in lawsuit that former Harrison County sheriff stole drugs, sexually assaulted plaintiff

A gavel and a name plate with the engraving Lawsuit

The Associated Press reports a woman has alleged in a civil rights lawsuit that former Harrison County Sheriff Joshua Eckerson gave her drugs and sexually assaulted her. Eckerson killed himself last year after a special prosecutor charged him with misdemeanor counts of misuse of official information by a public servant, trespassing, and domestic assault. The Saint Joseph News-Press reports it is unclear if those charges are related to the lawsuit because the criminal court documents are sealed.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe, alleges in the suit that Eckerson drove her home after a 2015 criminal interview, made a suggestive comment, returned later in uniform, and coerced her into sexual intercourse in his sheriff’s department vehicle. The suit states that the former sheriff “coerced [the woman] into having sexual intercourse or performing other sexual acts in exchange for the sheriff’s department’s assistance in criminal charges against herself or her family members.”

The lawsuit also says Eckerson allegedly directed the woman to trade illegal narcotics for steroids, which he used on himself. When the woman broke off the sexual encounters, Eckerson arrested her and pressed charges. The suit says he also initiated a relationship with a probation officer who oversaw Doe’s case.