Sexual harassment, toxic work environment allegations made against Ontario County Sheriff

Finger Lakes

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y (WROC) – We are learning new details about the Ontario County Board of Supervisors call for Sheriff Kevin Henderson to Resign. They believe A seven-month-long internal investigation highlights poor leadership and lack of integrity.  

Numerous anonymous internal complaints on the county’s tip line accuse the Sheriff and other higher-ups of sexually harassing employees of the sheriff’s office creating a toxic work environment.  

“This is a law enforcement official who doesn’t think the rules apply to him,” Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt claimed.  

Following the Public Safety Committee Meeting, Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt highlighted the tipping point when Sheriff Kevin Henderson allegedly tried to intervene in investigations about his leadership.  

“There had been an anonymous complaint regarding a sexual harassment investigation into the sheriff’s office and he had demanded the HR (Human Resource) Department to hear the audio recording of the anonymous complaint,” Administrator DeBolt continued. “So that he could identify the complainant. Go after them and nail them to the wall.”  

These calls to the tip line accuse several higher-ups of committing the same offenses but got off. Including former Undersheriff Dave Frasca who voluntarily resigned earlier this week. Administrator DeBolt says each complaint comes with credible evidence.  

“Undersheriff was very much at the heart of a lot of these complaints,” Administrator DeBolt said. “I think that the fact the Undersheriff resigned with no prompting is indicative where there’s smoke there’s fire.” 

Since Sheriff Henderson refused to resign, the Public Safety Committee passed two resolutions giving the Investigations Committee Subpoena power over the Sheriff’s Department to fully investigate the matter. Also, develop a Taskforce to remove the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Division from the Sheriff to a new entity.  

Both these resolutions will be brought to the entire board of supervisors Thursday night to be voted on. Sheriff Henderson thus far has not responded to our requests for comment on these new allegations. 

Henderson issued a statement Tuesday morning that says he was asked, under “threat of retaliation,” to resign by the end of the week, but said he had no intention of resigning. Henderson’s full statement:

“Recently it has been brought to Sheriff Kevin Henderson’s attention that local Ontario County officials, directed by the County Board of Supervisors, have scrutinized the handling of certain internal HR and administrative matters within the Office of Sheriff. The culmination of this local probe resulted in a meeting with the Sheriff and Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Marren, in which a verbal list of issues was presented.

During this meeting, the Sheriff was asked, under threat of retaliation, to resign the Office of Sheriff by a deadline of this week. Sheriff Henderson has no intention of resigning, and reaffirms his commitment to the citizens of Ontario County to put public safety before politics.

The Sheriff has requested to meet with entire Board of Supervisors as soon as possible to discuss their concerns unfiltered.

Consequential to this meeting, the Ontario County Undersheriff has voluntary resigned from the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff wants full transparency to the citizens he serves, and encourages and supports an independent investigation of the allegations verbally laid out by the County Board of Supervisors.”

When asked for further commentary on the situation Tuesday, Henderson deferred to the aforementioned statement. News 8 reached out again for comment Wednesday following the Public Safety Committee meeting but the sheriff has not immediately returned a request for comment.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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