A former Garden City, Idaho, councilwoman who does human resources consulting is conducting the independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Kootenai County’s chief deputy prosecutor.
Kootenai County has refused to release Kandy Weaver’s name, saying any publicity could interfere with her investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rick Baughman. Two former female colleagues have accused Baughman of sexual harassment, including inappropriate touching, lewd comments and offers of dates.
Deputy County Attorney Darrin Murphey inadvertently disclosed Weaver’s name Wednesday as he discussed travel and lodging expenses incurred by the county as part of the investigation. In a later interview, Murphey confirmed that Weaver is the independent investigator.
He said an attorney contracted by the county’s insurer, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, retained Weaver but that the county is paying all her costs, including expenses and an undisclosed hourly rate.
Weaver is the second investigator hired to review the sexual harassment allegations. The county first hired former Idaho County Deputy Prosecutor Joseph A. Wright, but he quit before the investigation even got started because of a potential conflict of interest; Wright attended the University of Idaho law school with Baughman.
County Attorney Erika Grubbs at the time refused to name the new investigator and said the county may never release the name, even after the investigation is complete.
Besides the sexual harassment complaint, Weaver is reviewing sexually explicit e-mails and attachments that Baughman sent to the alleged victims and numerous other county employees.
One of the accusers, Laura Bonneville, also sent lewd e-mails to Baughman.
Baughman, whose annual salary is $74,771, has been on paid administrative leave since allegations against him were made public in early November.
Weaver, who owns Kandy Weaver and Associates, didn’t return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday. She also is the managing partner for Assessment Leaders of Idaho.
On the group’s Web site, an executive biography states that Weaver has more than 25 years of “hands-on management and human resource experience, including consulting work with Fortune 500 companies.” It adds that she also conducts internal third-party investigations.
Murphey said he thinks Weaver is nearly done with the investigation.
According to documents released by the county Wednesday, Weaver has made two overnight trips to Coeur d’Alene, on Nov. 28 and Dec. 26.
The county has paid airfare expenses of about $200, two nights’ lodging for a total of $156 and rental car expenses. Though a county memo indicates Weaver is being paid by the hour, the county wouldn’t disclose the rate.
Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said Weaver is “doing a fair and impartial and thorough job.”
“She is totally unbiased,” said Douglas, who recently promoted Baughman to be his No. 2 criminal attorney.
Baughman was Douglas’ co-counsel for the Joseph Duncan triple-murder case that resulted in a plea deal on the eve of the trial last October.
Douglas said he will await Weaver’s finding before deciding Baughman’s fate.
“No decisions or prejudgments have been made,” he said.