$50,000 settles sexual harassment claim at Development Authority

David Mathews
David Mathews

A former employee of the Crawford County Development Authority will receive $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim.

The authority fired Carol Jackson in April, 20 months after she alleged that she had been sexually harassed by David Mathews, a Development Authority board member.

Last week, the Crawford County Commission spent 14 minutes in closed session before approving $25,000 toward the settlement, which was matched by the authority, County Attorney David Mincey said.

As part of the settlement, Jackson agreed not to discuss the case, and she declined comment when The Telegraph asked about the nature of her complaint.

Jackson, who had worked for the authority for nine years as a secretary and acting director, contended that Mathews had sexually harassed her between September 2013 and August 2014.

Jackson’s charge of discrimination, filed through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said she reported what had happened to supervisor Brenda Carroll in August 2014.

After reporting her claims, Jackson said she was subject to “harassment, close supervision of my work and a reduction of work hours” before her termination in April of this year.

Jackson’s attorney, Stephen Welsh, also declined to discuss specifics of the case.

“Really, all we can say is it’s resolved,” Welsh said. “We are satisfied. We felt like justice was served and they righted a wrong.”

This year, Mathews unsuccessfully challenged Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker, and he ran against former Sheriff Kerry Dunaway in 2000.

During that first campaign, Mathews, also known as “Pee Wee,” was indicted in May 2000 after three Fort Valley State University professors accused him of exposing himself to them in separate incidents on campus.

The former Roberta police officer pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure in fall 2001.

Mathews was sentenced to 12 months probation on each count, to serve concurrently.

After he completed the sentencing terms successfully, the case was discharged under first offender status, according to Peach County court records.

Mincey, the Crawford County attorney, said the recent settlement was not an admission that Jackson was sexually harassed or wrongfully terminated.

Both the county and the Development Authority deny Jackson’s allegations, according to the settlement agreement.

“The cost of pursuing litigation would be great,” Mincey said. “It was purely economics.”

Mincey said Jackson’s allegation “wasn’t exposure, definitely not exposure.”

A phone number listed for Mathews was no longer in service, according to the Development Authority.

As part of the agreement, Mathews is to resign his position on the authority.

“He said, ‘Look, I’ll be a team player. It’s not a paid position,’ ” said Mincey, who had not yet received Mathews’ letter of resignation Monday morning, although the settlement was reviewed and signed by all parties Wednesday.