By Mindy Ragan Wood
*This story has been updated to reflect comments from Canadian County Commissioner Dave Anderson*
Canadian County Children’s Justice Center Director Daniel Kern has been placed on suspension without pay, documents from the Canadian County Commissioners office reveals.
Kern has been under investigation by the county’s human resources department, NaCole Majors. He has been accused of making sexualized comments about a 13-year-old girl’s buttocks in addition to swearing and other derogatory remarks about children housed in the center in front of staff and detained students.
A county payroll report is dated Monday and shows Kern was cited for “conduct” as the reason for suspension and that he will not receive pay. His return date to the center is listed as “unknown” the document shows. It does not reveal the nature of misconduct Kern is accused of committing.
The disciplinary documents are signed by Associate District Judge Bob Hughey, Majors, Kern and Canadian County Commissioner Dave Anderson. Majors declined to comment.
Anderson told the Yukon Progress that he could not comment on the specific reasons for Kern’s suspension because of a pending lawsuit.
“Some of the employees out there have notified us through an attorney that they plan to bring a lawsuit against the county,” Anderson said. “I’m trying to be careful here not to disclose more than I should for legal reasons. It (suspension) was a collaborative process with our human resources director, the judge and myself as to the investigation into the allegations and judge Hughey’s decisions on what actions to take.”
A former employee Rhonda Moss who was the human resources director for the center filed an EEOC complaint against Kern over sexual harassment and age discrimination allegations. Two days later she was fired and was not given a reason for her dismissal, she alleges. A second employee Melissa McClain who is currently employed at the center also filed an EEOC complaint. They are represented by attorney Rachel Bussett.