CANANDAIGUA, N.Y (WROC) – New details are emerging about why the Ontario County Board of Supervisors asked Sheriff Kevin Henderson to resign. They believe A seven-month-long internal investigation highlights poor leadership and a lack of integrity.
“This is a law enforcement official who doesn’t think the rules apply to him,” claimed Chris DeBolt, the Ontario County Administrator.
Several anonymous internal complaints on the county’s tip line reportedly accused the sheriff and other higher-ups of sexually harassing employees at the sheriff’s office, creating a toxic work environment. Following a Public Safety Committee Meeting, DeBolt highlighted a tipping point when Henderson allegedly tried to intervene in investigations into his own leadership.
“There had been an anonymous complaint regarding a sexual harassment investigation into the sheriff’s office and he had demanded the [Human Resource] Department to hear the audio recording of the anonymous complaint,” DeBolt said. “So that he could identify the complainant, go after them, and nail them to the wall.”
These calls to the tip line accuse several other higher-ups of committing the same offenses, including ex-Undersheriff Dave Frasca, who voluntarily resigned earlier this week. DeBolt says each complaint comes with credible evidence. “[Frasca] was very much at the heart of a lot of these complaints,” he said. “The fact the undersheriff resigned with no prompting is indicative. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Since Henderson refused to resign, the Public Safety Committee passed two resolutions giving the Investigations Committee subpoena power over Henderson’s department to fully investigate the matter. They also said they’d develop a task force to move the 911 emergency communications division from the sheriff’s department to a new entity.
Both resolutions will be brought to the entire board of supervisors Thursday night to be voted on. Sheriff Henderson thus far has not responded to requests for comment on the new allegations. He did release a statement on Tuesday morning:
Recently it has been brought to Sheriff Kevin Henderson’s attention that local Ontario County officials, directed by the County Board of Supervisors, have scrutinized the handling of certain internal HR and administrative matters within the Office of Sheriff. The culmination of this local probe resulted in a meeting with the Sheriff and Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Marren, in which a verbal list of issues was presented.
During this meeting, the Sheriff was asked, under threat of retaliation, to resign the Office of Sheriff by a deadline of this week. Sheriff Henderson has no intention of resigning, and reaffirms his commitment to the citizens of Ontario County to put public safety before politics.
The Sheriff has requested to meet with entire Board of Supervisors as soon as possible to discuss their concerns unfiltered.
Consequential to this meeting, the Ontario County Undersheriff has voluntary resigned from the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff wants full transparency to the citizens he serves, and encourages and supports an independent investigation of the allegations verbally laid out by the County Board of Supervisors.