Civil Rights Claim Against Harrison County and Former Sheriff Eckerson Finalized

ST. JOSEPH, MO – A lawsuit brought against Harrison County and former Sheriff Josh Eckerson’s estate has been brought to a conclusion with a summary judgment issued in favor of the defendants.

The Plaintiff, only identified as Jane Doe, brought the 1983 Deprivation of Civil Rights Action against the County and the former Sheriff’s estate claiming she and Sheriff Eckerson were engaged in a sexual relationship in 2015, during which time the Sheriff also made drugs available to her. The Plaintiff alleged she only engaged in the acts with the Sheriff in order to gain a benefit for her brother and family.

In the Order Granting Summary Judgment, the Court indicates that Sheriff Eckerson ended the relationship in the Spring of 2016, at which time criminal charges were brought against her based upon an investigation by the sheriff’s department. The facts allege in the suit, which were largely undisputed by the defendants, state that Sheriff Eckerson took training drugs from the evidence room and traded them with Jane Doe for steroids.

The order says that approximately six to eight months prior to Sheriff Eckerson’s death on March 5, 2020, Deputy Kevin Lawson was aware that the Sheriff was under investigation for taking the drugs from evidence. The court order indicates that other than calling a DEA task force officer, Deputy Lawson took no action to document the missing narcotics and that in 2019 or early 2020, Deputy Lawson created a new document reflecting only the property inside of the property room. Deputy Lawson said he did so at the direction of Sheriff Eckerson.

Lawson was charged with two felony counts of tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor of tampering with a public record. He later entered a plea of guilty to the misdemeanor charge and was placed on probation. The felonies were dismissed by the prosecutor.

The U.S. District Court ultimately found in favor of the Defendants in Jane Doe’s civil rights action, finding that Doe voluntarily engaged in the relationship with Sheriff Eckerson and voluntarily took the drugs he provided to her.

Read the Full Order for Summary Judgment in Doe v Eckerson HERE