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Juvenile center workers file complaint

The former human resources director for the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center says she was fired after filing complaints against the center’s director for sexual harassment.
Ronda Moss filed the EEOC complaint on Oct. 15. She says she was fired two days later.
A similar complaint was filed by Moss’ co-worker, Melissa McClain, said local attorney Rachel Bussett, who represents the two women.
McClain was not fired, but was demoted after filing her complaint against Daniel Kern, Bussett said.
The two had filed complaints that Kern was engaging sexual harassment, which created a hostile work environment.
Moss’ EEOC complaint also alleges age discrimination and retaliation by Kern, who was hired in March as the director of the El Reno center.
Bussett said Moss and McClain filed a number of complaints against Kern between Sept. 24 and Oct. 9 with his supervisor, Associate Judge Bob Hughey.
However, no action was taken against him.
Hughey, last week, released a statement saying that an internal investigation is underway to look into the allegations against Kern.
Moss had been employed for more than 19 years with the county. She served for almost a year as the acting co-director of the facility after Dr. Bill Sharp retired.
Previously, the county had suspended another director, Bill Alexander, following allegations of harassment. Alexander later was fired.
Bussett said it is strange that similar actions have not been taken against Kern.
“He’s still working. These allegations involve multiple people, including that he made sexualized comments about students at the school,” she said.
Bussett also said that while no wrongful termination lawsuit has been filed against the county as of yet, it is anticipated.
“We have to go through the process,” she said. “Hopefully, the county will do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Kern was included in a federal lawsuit related to the treatment of young prisoners at the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Mississippi.
Kern was hired as an assistant warden at the facility in 2010 and was brought in to help correct the problems, said Hughey in a statement released Wednesday.
Kern is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit that eventually led to the facility being shut down.
Kern, who was sued in his role as assistant warden, was eventually dismissed from the lawsuit.
“There was no reason for this lawsuit to raise any red flags related to the employment of Dan Kern. Kern was recognized as an expert, with the knowledge and experience to correct the problems of Walnut Grove,” Hughey said in his statement.
District 2 County Commissioner David Anderson, who chairs the board of commissioners, said Kerns continues on the job, but an internal investigation is being conducted.
“The judge is waiting on the results of the investigation to determine his next course of action,” Anderson said.
The difference between the situation involving Alexander and Kern, Anderson said, is that Canadian County now has a human resources director who is capable of conducting the investigation.
In 2017, that department did not exist, he said.
“I am confident that NaCole (Majors) will be able to conduct the investigation,” he said.

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