Settlements reached in sex harassment cases against sheriff

Sexual harassment lawsuits against a Mississippi county sheriff seeking re-election have been settled for undisclosed amounts

JACKSON, Miss. -- A Mississippi sheriff accused of sexually harassing three top women in his department has settled their lawsuits, with the terms and details kept secret as he's running for re-election. How much taxpayer money the Hinds County Board of Supervisors must spend to keep their cases from going to trial remains undisclosed.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the settlements were reached this week between Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason and three women he allegedly demoted or fired after they declined sex or relationships: ex-Sgt. Belendia Jones, ex-Chief Deputy Cheryl Matory and ex-internal affairs lead Tomeca Barnes.

Sheriff's attorney Claire Barker said the settlement terms prevent public disclosure. The lawsuits also named the county as a defendant, and its board must approve the settlement terms.