The McDonald County Sheriff's race concluded Nov. 3 with the election of Democrat Robert M. Evenson, but it appears Evenson's opponent in the August primary is battling on.
Jeff Sutherland and his wife, Tammy, filed a lawsuit today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri charging the County's 911 Board, and its attorney...Evenson's father, Robert W. Evenson of violation of their "right to equal protection," "Invasion of privacy,' and of violating Missouri state law in connection with the release of a July 13, 2007, 911 tape of a call made by Mrs. Sutherland to media outlets and to Neosho Forums, where it was posted on Aug. 3. At the same time, an advertisement was published in the Big Nickel, indicating the call concerned an earlier incident in which the ad referred to Sutherland as being intoxicated and firing his weapon. Other allegations were also made in the ad against both Sutherland and Republican sheriff's candidate Gregg Sweeten.
Listed as defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Evenson, are the County 911 Board, LIsa McCool, its executive director; and Brian Massa, an employee.
The suit alleges the release of the tape and an examination of Tammy Sutherland's driving records by Massa were a conspiracy to violate the couple's rights. The Sutherlands are asking for damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.
Massa was charged Oct. 22 in McDonald County Circuit Court with misuse of official information by a public servant. Massa pleaded not guilty Dec. 2. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 2.