Sheriff David Woolfork
Sheriff Woolfork Ouster Begins
DOWNTOWN JACKSON, Tenn. -- Friday the process to remove Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork from office began.
This after three female sheriff's department employees accuse him of sexual harassment.
Sheriff Woolfork is an elected official, but an ouster lawsuit filed today by Madison County attorney Steve Maroney can remove him from office.
"It provides for a lawsuit to be brought against the elected official asking for him to be removed from office," Maroney said.
Woolfork's attorney, Mark Donahoe, says he didn't expect that to actually happen.
"I would have expected them not to file the case at all. It doesn't seem to be very economical for the county. There's no purpose. I question while they filed it at all," Donahoe said.
Donahoe says Woolfork doesn't plan to seek reelection, so he though he would just ride out the rest of his term.
The county attorney says the next step is a hearing to decide if he should be suspended until the ouster process is over.
"If he is removed on a temporary basis in the suspension hearing, he would be out of office without pay between the time of the suspension hearing and the time of the ultimate trial," Maroney said.
Donahoe says Woolfork's plan is to file an answer within the 20 day time period and move forward into the trial. Both attorneys say this is a civil suit and will be different than proving him guilty in a criminal case.
"His guilt would have to be established beyond reasonable doubt. That's not the standard in the ouster case. This is a civil proceeding and so the standard is what's called 'clear and convincing evidence,'" Maroney said.
Neither attorneys say they know when the hearing will be scheduled but it will be after the first of the year.
Donahoe said today the fees could cost taxpayers upwards of $50,000.