CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — The latest findings from an investigation into former Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson allowing employees to be mistreated and interfere with internal investigations, were released by the Board of Supervisors Monday.
Henderson always denied these allegations but ended up resigning in 2021. In its latest report to the Ontario County Board of Supervisors, the 209 Investigation Committee has corroborated earlier investigations that former Sheriff Kevin Henderson and his administration participated in inappropriate behavior toward colleagues. Now, reform is being drawn up.
At the county jail, three correctional officers resigned for actions against colleagues and inmates uncovered during the investigation. A special prosecutor recommended they should be terminated.
“Over 70 current and former employees came forward and spoke to the independent investigator,” Ontario County Administrator Christ DeBolt said. “In outlining certain behavior that may or may not have occurred or alleged to have occurred it’s impossible for us to protect the identity of those who came forward.”
The Board of Supervisors then revised the process for employees in the sheriff’s office to report harassment or discriminatory complaints.
Instead of going through their own administration, they can now seek help anonymously through Human Resources.
“It makes it easier for HR and all of our county staff to make sure that everyone’s using the same playbook moving forward,” Supervisor Todd Campbell of the 209 Committee said. “It makes it easier for all the employees and staff to know one specific model and use that moving forward.”
A key update in that plan is the board adding two full-time compliance investigators to oversee all internal investigations and complaints from the public against county employees.
“If the public has a concern brought forward like situations were wrongly handled by a sheriff’s deputy or another department, we could investigate that,” Ontario County Board Chairman Jack Marren said.
“The fact that they’re part of the HR department gives them a certain amount of independence and protection from retaliation or harassment,” DeBolt said. “So, while they might be there in an office for a designated time, they know their home base is HR.”
This new reform being drawn up has also lowered the number of vacancies within the department. On the patrol side, the number of open positions for deputies has dropped from 16 to four.
We sent a copy of this report from the board of supervisors to the legal team representing former Sheriff Kevin Henderson for a response in his defense. But never heard back.
The full report can be read by visiting this link.