Internal Affairs files obtained by KRDO Newschannel 13 reveal some of those who have filed EEOC complaints against El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa also appear to have skeletons in the closet.
Sheriff Maketa is embroiled in a scandal, in which he is accused of having affairs with three female subordinates, promoting them to positions they didn’t earn, and creating a hostile work environment.
At the urging of Vicki Maketa – the sheriff’s wife – KRDO requested the Internal Affairs (IA) files of Commander Robert King, Sergeant Michael Schaller, and Deputy Cliff Porter.
The IA files of the select whistle-blowers cost KRDO Newschannel 13 nearly $800, and were released 16 days after requesting them under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
The files indicate Commander Robert King -- who's name is signed on the first EEOC complaint against the sheriff -- also sent sexually explicit emails on a county computer to an unnamed woman, who worked as an administrative assistant at a police department.
It’s a violation of policy.
During an interview about it,. King admitted he made a mistake.
Then there's Sergeant Michael Schaller -- who also filed an EEOC complaint against Maketa. Records show he sent dozens of sexually explicit texts messages to women he met on prior traffic stops. In one of the messages, sent on his county-issued cell phone, while on duty, he asked one of the women to strip down to her “shirt and panties” and send him a picture.
Other accusations include phone sex with one of the women. When that woman’s husband confronted Schaller about the conversations, Schaller was accused of suggesting a "three way" with that woman and her husband.
Schaller’s IA files also reveal he is a current subject of an internal sexual harassment and discrimination investigation.
Certain records pertaining to Deputy Cliff Porter -- also part of the original EEOC complaint – were released weeks ago by the Sheriff’s Office, including a recorded conversation about the Kara Nichols missing persons case. Porter’s IA files include reference to the conversation and subsequent reprimand for “politicking at work.”
Porter is a supporter of Bill Elder, who will be El Paso County’s Sheriff at the end of Maketa’s term.
In response, Sgt. Schaller's attorney, Erin Jensen, released this statement:
"While we have not seen all of the information regarding Sergeant Schaller that has been released by Sheriff Maketa, this is yet another example of retaliation against those who have spoken out against him. The Sheriff’s Office has never before released this type of information in response to a CORA request. It is unprecedented. We are also aware that, in this case, media outlets were contacted by Vicki Maketa and it was she who made the suggestion that these files be requested. Sheriff Maketa continues to destroy the credibility of his office."
Sheriff Maketa faces a recall. Two weeks remain to collect more than 44,373 valid signatures to put the recall on the November ballot.