Chester County jury rejects former deputy’s lawsuit

CHESTER, S.C. — A jury in Chester has ruled that Sheriff Alex Underwood did not sexually harass a former deputy.

Multiple media outlets reported a jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday before rejecting the claims in a lawsuit by former sheriff’s Maj. Mary Anne Tolbert.

Tolbert’s lawsuit said Underwood forced her into more than a dozen sexual encounters in 2013.

Underwood testified the encounters never happened.

Tolbert’s attorneys argued Underwood knew she was vulnerable because she needed her job, and that he had taken advantage of her with the sexual encounters.

Underwood’s attorneys said Tolbert was upset because he had not promoted her to chief deputy and that she filed the lawsuit to get even.

She had not filed criminal charges against him.

Tolbert and her attorneys left the courtroom without commenting.