Kernell, Greenville Co. respond to sheriff’s sexual harassment lawsuit

Greenville Co. Administrator Joe Kernell
Greenville Co. Administrator Joe Kernell

A lawyer for Greenville County and the county administrator Joseph Kernell have filed a response to a lawsuit brought forward by a former Sheriff Office assistant.

Savanah Nabors sued Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis, the Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County, and Joseph Kernell stating that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by Lewis during her employment with the Sheriff’s Office.

Read the amended lawsuit here: amended savanah nabors lawsuit

Lewis and the Sheriff’s Office responded to the lawsuit last week with several new claims, including that sex on a budget trip to Charlotte was consensual with Nabors, and that she initiated it.

Kernell and two other county administrators were on that trip and discussed details of the trip in the lawsuit response. It states that the trip was at the request of the Sheriff.

The response states that Kernell and two other county employees did eat dinner at the hotel and go to a pub the next night. Kernell states that he was not aware of Lewis’ alleged history of sexually inappropriate behavior with female coworkers and had no knowledge of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior with Nabors.

The response goes on to state multiple times that at no time on the trip did Nabors seem in distress or make any complaints of sexual harassment, rape, or any other issues.

Kernell’s response also states that they believe the defendants will show that Nabors never reported sexual harassment or made any other complaints related to the Sheriff or the Sheriff’s Office to Kernell or Greenville County Human Resource representatives.

They also allege that Nabors filed suit before receiving a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC.

Read the response, here: Joe Kernell Response