The Missouri Department of Corrections continues to fight a lawsuit filed in Cole County court by a Washington County woman. On June 23rd of 2021, a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against the state’s prison system by 65-year-old Patricia Lawson of Potosi. Lawson is a former employee at the Potosi prison. She has claimed sexual harassment at her former work site, a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act. Lawson had worked at the prison in Potosi from mid-2007 to mid-2019.
The lawsuit describes many examples of alleged abuse to Lawson throughout her years working there. She says male prison employees propositiioned her for sex acts, they called her vulgar names, she alleges male correction officers actually threatened her one time with physical violence and there were other examples given. Lawson says she was fired for reporting the abuse to those higher up the chain in the State’s correctional system. The next time this case will be heard in Cole County court is December 11th when a counsel status hearing will take place. The defendant for the State of Missouri, Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Laudano has filed a motion to withdraw from the case. If allowed, he would be replaced by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Sieg.