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Committee releases report of investigation of Ontario County Sheriff’s Department

An Ontario County Board of Supervisors investigation committee has released its report of the investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by former Sheriff Kevin Henderson and others within the department.

The report says an independent investigator interviewed over 70 people during a five month period and found what it calls ” acts of inappropriate behavior in the workplace by the Sheriff and/or with his knowledge and consent, and by certain members of his administration.” The report says Henderson was given the opportunity to be interviewed and/or to provide documentation related to the accusations, but refused to do so.

Related: Sheriff Povero reflects on decision to come back, carries optimism about talent at Ontario County Sheriff’s Office

Report says Henderson wanted to hear recordings of accusers

The county first received reports of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior in the workplace on an anonymous in December, 2020. The report says county officials were alarmed when Henderson asked to hear audio recordings of the calls in order to determine the identities of who made them.

The report details corrective actions taken by the county since the investigation, including the resignation of Undersheriff Kevin Frasca, followed by Henderson’s resignation, the naming of former Sheriff Phil Povero as Sheriff, the resignations of three corrections officers at the County Jail and the elimination of the Sheriff’s Office Sexual Harassment Committee. The committee within the Sheriff’s Department was apparently not known outside the department and operated under rules that were superseded by the county’s own policies.

The county has also created two new Compliance Supervisor positions, ensuring that complaints within the department will be handled by independent investigators outside the department.

Related: Sexual harassment claims against Sheriff Kevin Henderson will be investigated by Ontario County Board of Supervisors

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Moving forward

The reports goes on to say “The current Sheriff’s Administration deserves considerable credit for making tremendous strides in rectifying this in a very short period of time. The Sheriff and Undersheriff have been incredibly open, honest and collaborative with all matters regarding the operation of the Department, as well as the important work of the 209 Committee and the Compliance Investigators. Through their dedication and willingness to work collaboratively with the County, progress has been both swift and significant in just a few short months.
Moving forward, a new Sheriff will take office in January of 2023. The Board of Supervisors, the members of the 209 Committee and County leadership are committed to working closely
with the new Sheriff’s Administration to continue effectuating positive change within the Department and expect the new Sheriff to do the same.”