Maegan Hall is suing La Vergne for sexual exploitation and grooming
A former Tennessee police officer who was fired after allegedly being involved in a sexual misconduct scandal has sued the city where she once worked, claiming her bosses and supervisors targeted her for sexual exploitation.
Maegan Hall, who joined the La Vergne Police Department as an officer in February 2021, was fired in January following a sexual misconduct scandal uncovered following an anonymous complaint and an investigation local NBC affiliate WSMV.
Now she’s suing the city of La Vergne, its former police chief Burrel “Chip” Davis, former Sergeant Henry “Ty” McGowan and former Sergeant Lewis Powell – who Hall says have all conspired to previously sexually groom her and exploit her as a scapegoat for the sexual misconduct scandal.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, Hall accused her superiors and the now-fired police chief of exploiting and exploiting her, beginning when she was a “vulnerable and optimistic 24-year-old woman” applying to join the La Vergne police precinct.
“Instead of offering professional training, their superiors and the police chief prepared them for sexual exploitation,” the complaint reads. “They have worked together to use her authority to systematically disarm her resistance and engage her in degrading and abusive sexual relationships, and even offered advice on how best to manipulate and exploit her.”
That collusion allegedly included encouraging Hall to “lie about her history of mental health problems” during the psychological evaluation required of all police applicants. Hall also says that since beginning her tenure in the police force, she “has experienced a work environment that is permeated with sexual innuendo and sexually explicit behavior.”
According to Hall’s complaint, her male colleagues routinely discussed “sexual preferences, sexual attractiveness, and sexual acts they had performed on women,” shared intimate photos of themselves in her presence, made sexually suggestive comments, and made sexual suggestions to her.
“During her employment, Ms. Hall was prepared to engage in sexually exploitative activities by men in the department, including Sgt. Powell, Sgt. McGowan and Chief Davis,” the complaint reads.
The complaint includes a doctor’s description of a seven-step “care process” and argues that the police chief and sergeants followed that playbook.
Powell, the complaint states, has repeatedly used his position of authority to coerce Hall into engaging in sexual activity. Although Hall repeatedly told him she was not interested, Powell persisted and “gave Sgt. Powell’s requests for sexual favors.” Hall describes several incidents of non-consensual sexual activity, including Powell removing a condom during sex and taking photographs or videos of her without consent during a sexual act.
“At least one of these non-consensual intimate visual displays ended up in the possession of Sgt. McGowan and Chief Davis,” the complaint reads.
Powell also reportedly warned Hall that “if someone finds out, or if you sleep with someone else, it’s over, things will be different, work will be different,” according to the complaint. After several months, she told Powell that the situation is causing “mental distress” and affecting her ability to perform her duties. He allegedly told her that if she sought help, she would be seen as a “weak female officer” and no one would trust her, and urged her to “pull up” and focus on work, the complaint said .
Within hours of this conversation, Hall was involved in a car accident on duty; Months later, she was involved in a more serious collision while on duty, which resulted in her being taken to the hospital.
McGowan’s treatment of Hall was similarly exploitative and coercive, the complaint said. The sergeant repeatedly touched her buttocks, made sexual suggestions to her, made “sexual moans” when she entered a room, and offered to set up an “OnlyFans” account he would manage, in which Hall would “have sex with other men.” would so Sgt. McGowan could watch.”
Hall says she repeatedly rejected McGowan’s sexual advances despite his repeated pleas. However, when she went to McGowan for advice on dealing with mental stress at work and concerns about her job after the second car accident, McGowan allegedly took advantage of her vulnerability.
“Sgt. McGowan promised he could protect Ms. Hall’s position in the department,” the complaint reads. “He mentioned that her car accidents on the job could prevent her from getting a promotion, but that he had the power to make sure Ms. Hall got the promotion. Simultaneously with these promises, Sgt. McGowan proposed to Ms. Hall for intercourse.”
Hall relented, the complaint said, and her “mental condition continued to deteriorate between November and December 2022.”
The complaint also alleges that the male officers conspired to exploit and intimidate Hall and disrupt the police department’s initial investigation – and, according to the lawsuit, it worked.
“The initial [La Vergne Police Department] The report presented all of the sexual activity as committed or initialed by Ms Hall,” the complaint said, leading to her dismissal.
However, the report is “deliberately omitted [Hall’s] specific and detailed sexual abuse and harassment” by Powell, which resulted in Hall being dubbed a “wild girls” cop and giving her widespread internet exposure, the complaint states.
“But for the sexual grooming and abuse by the City of La Vergne, Sgt. McGowan, Sgt. Powell and Chief Davis, Ms. Hall would not have been subjected to this extraordinary level of public ridicule and humiliation,” the complaint reads.
Davis, the police chief at the time, was also complicit in Hall’s exploitation, the complaint said. Davis McGowan shared his highly sexualized opinions about Hall, according to a series of text messages revealed during an independent investigation into sexual misconduct within the department.
That investigation also revealed that Davis had used a “burner phone,” which he dubbed “Ole Boy,” to solicit “intimate visual representations” of Hall from McGowan. According to the investigative report, Davis “received nude photos and videos” of Hall and other female La Vergne police officers, noting that the “amount of pornographic material that passed through the chief’s personal phones should alert any reasonable officer to the risk.” a sexually hostile work environment in the department was unacceptably high.”
The complaint alleges that Davis was “deliberately intimidated” when Hall tried to complain about Powell [Hall] by his presence during her job interviews to make sure she doesn’t label him as a perpetrator of sexual harassment or abuse.”
The complaint includes screenshots of Facebook messages between Hall and Davis, in which the boss said Hall was “super fired” for allegedly ignoring him earlier that day. This exchange of texts also shows Hall’s repeated efforts to deflect sexually suggestive remarks from her boss.
Hall is seeking a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages.
A La Vergne representative told Law&Crime that the city cannot comment on pending litigation.
You can read the complaint Herethe internal investigation report Hereand the independent investigative report Here.
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https://lawandcrime.com/sexual-harassment/former-la-vergne-police-officer-says-chief-superiors-targeted-and-groomed-her-before-blaming-her-for-sexual-misconduct-scandal/ Maegan Hall is suing La Vergne for sexual exploitation and grooming