Thursday, March 1, 2018

Weeks after Inlander article, local school district fires former EWU cop accused of sexual harassment

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 9:50 AM

click to enlarge EWU's Red Barn, headquarters of the university's police department - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
EWU's Red Barn, headquarters of the university's police department
Bryan Dornbos, the former EWU police officer who was accused of sexually harassing a young woman and then landed a job as a local school resource officer, has been fired.

Reardan-Edwall School District superintendent Marcus Morgan confirmed to the Inlander that the school board terminated Dornbos last week. Morgan says Dornbos was fired because the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office had not commissioned Dornbos to be a school resource officer.

In January, the Inlander wrote about allegations that Dornbos made a cadet for the EWU Police Department uncomfortable. The cadet, who was 19 when she started working there, complained to Deputy Chief Gary Gasseling that Dornbos made inappropriate comments about her body, called her his "hot assistant," told her Cheney officers were "wondering how long it would take" her to sleep with him, would ask for hugs and linger around her.

The university launched an investigation into Dornbos' alleged "sexual harassment and stalking behavior" that allegedly took place over the course of a year and a half. The investigation found the woman's claims were "substantiated." Dornbos, who denies the allegations, was put on paid administrative leave, and after the investigation he became an EWU truck driver.

In fall 2017, about a year after the woman made her complaint, Reardan-Edwall School District hired Dornbos to become its school resource officer. But shortly after the Inlander began inquiring about the allegations about Dornbos at his previous job, superintendent Morgan said Dornbos' job status was being reevaluated based on new information.

Last week, the school board officially terminated Dornbos. Board members say it had nothing to do with any media attention, but that Dornbos never was commissioned to fulfill his role as school resource officer.

"The primary reason was he was not able to get his commission with Lincoln County," says Jeff Anderson, vice chairman of the school board.

Nick Landt, chairman of the school board, says he knew Dornbos was not going to be commissioned before he learned of the harassment allegations. That's why, when asked if the allegations concerned him, Landt says he didn't think about it too much.

"We already were aware that he was unable to fulfill the obligations [of the job]," Landt says. "So I didn't put too much worry or thought into it."

Kelly Watkins, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office undersheriff, says the department did not commission Dornbos because "he just wasn't a good match for us." He said he would not comment on whether it had to do with previous sexual harassment allegations. Watkins says the decision was based on a background investigation.

"I don't know why Reardan hired him before the background was done," Watkins says. "But they did and it's unfortunate it went down the way it did."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione is the Inlander’s news editor. Aside from writing and editing investigative news stories, he enjoys hiking, watching basketball and spending time with his wife and cat.