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Former Baxter County Sergeant Steven Goode has officially requested that the lawsuit filed by former Baxter County Jailer Tabitha King over her alleged rape and wrongful termination from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office be dismissed due to lack of credible, competent, and admissible evidence.
King made waves in Baxter County last year after filing a lawsuit against Baxter County and Baxter County Sheriff Montgomery alleging that she was wrongfully terminated after reporting to her superiors that she was sexually harassed by Goode throughout her time at the Sheriff’s Office.
That allegation was later expanded in court to include an alleged incident of rape by Goode during the Spring of 2019, as well as an allegation that Goode refused to let King go to the hospital while suffering a miscarriage during a shift in 2020.
Since the beginning of the lawsuit, both Goode and Sheriff Montgomery have been relatively silent outside of a few court filings and a few election campaign events that Montgomery attended during the 2022 election.
Earlier in Oct., the Observer obtained several court documents detailing several holes in King’s story, including evidence that the former jailer had fabricated her alleged miscarriage in 2020. Many of those documents were heavily redacted.
Since that time, the Observer has obtained over 50 new documents ranging from the Baxter County Quorum Court grievance hearing transcript over King’s firing, unredacted transcripts of King’s depositions, an unredacted transcript of Goode’s deposition, a copy of Sheriff Montgomery’s sworn affidavit, and notes from the county’s internal investigation surrounding King’s termination.
The Observer also obtained an unredacted copy of King’s medical information, as well as photos sent to King by Goode. Some information regarding King’s medical information will be redacted out of respect for privacy. Photos of Goode will be redacted due to their lewdness.
It should be noted that the Observer did not obtain these documents from either King or her attorneys, nor Montgomery, Goode, and their attorneys.
An out of control jailhouse
In Feb. 2018, King was hired by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office as a “jailer/matron” for the county’s local jail. Shortly after being hired, King received a copy of the department’s general orders and policy and procedures manual.
King signed an acknowledgment form for receiving and reviewing these documents. King was made aware of Sheriff Montgomery’s zero-tolerance policy of firing employees who lie during investigations.
Sometime in the Spring of 2019, King claimed, while helping Goode move mattresses to an isolated room, that the former Sergeant, using pressure points, forced her to her knees while putting his penis in her mouth. King alleges that she pulled away and left the room, and that she did not call for help or report the incident.
Goode is alleged to have threatened her job after she pulled away. These allegations can be found in King’s sworn testimony.
For his part, Goode alleges that he and King were secretly seeing each other behind their spouses’ backs and that they would often trade texts, which he would immediately delete to hide from his wife. Goode’s wife worked at the Sheriff’s Office at the time.
In his sworn testimony, Goode alleges that it was King that came on to him while moving mattresses, stating that she grabbed his butt and pulled him in for a kiss before pulling out his penis in her hand and asking him to “take it to the mats.” Goode claims that he told King ‘no’ out of fear they would get caught.
Goode then claims that they were interrupted by another approaching jailer who asked if they needed help. Goode admits to kissing King on other occasions in the stairwell of the jailhouse.
A relationship continued
Following the Spring incident, both King and Goode continued to work together. The two also continued to text each other during that time. In his testimony, Goode claims that the two were in a consensual relationship in the fall of 2019.
Court documents show that the two texted each other 1,902 times between Sept. 2019 and Dec. 2019. They would continue texting into 2020.
At some point during that time period, Goode sent multiple photos of himself in his underwear to King. He also sent her a photo of his penis. There are no dates saved on the screenshots of the photos, making it impossible to determine when the photos were sent. The original cellphone with the texts on it is also not available to the court.
Goode did not keep any copies of his texts with King. Goode alleges that King sent him nude photographs. In her sworn testimony, King contradicted herself by saying that she never sent Goode any photographs before admitting that she did send him a photo of herself with her blouse undone.
At one point while texting, both Goode and King discussed having a threesome. In her deposition, King said she only kept screenshots of text messages that she felt were “evidence” if she ever “was in this position.”
On Aug. 18, 2019, King then received verbal coaching from Sergeant Tony Beck for refusing to perform work assigned to her by Corporal Ethan Raymond. King also yelled at Raymond that she “wanted off his f—ing shift.”
Raymond would later file a sexual harassment complaint against King over a series of inappropriate text messages.
In her annual performance, Raymond noted that King “is, at times, insubordinate to her supervisors and has been written up on such in the past.”
On Dec. 18, 2019, King asked Raymond and Lieutenant Brad Lewis for placement on a different rotation or shift. King notified Goode of the request by text. Goode responded that he was OK with it.
Lewis denied the verbal request stating that King was where they needed her. King did not file a formal request in writing.
Following the request, King began showing various co-workers the pictures that Goode sent her. Up to 14 different individuals were shown the photos, with many noting that Goode was often joking about them during the county’s official internal investigation into her firing. One employee stated that they believed the photos were kept for blackmailing purposes.
In 2020, King sent the photos to Dawn Dunford and discussed them in a normal “upbeat attitude.” In her deposition, King states that she believes that it was Dunford who sent Lieutenant Brad Lewis a copy of the photographs.
In his sworn affidavit, Sheriff Montgomery admits to giving Goode a verbal warning about his inappropriate texts and photos to King in Dec. 2019 or early Jan. 2020.
Sometime in May 2020, Captain Jeff Lewis was asked about coworker harassment by King. Lewis told her to file a formal complaint, but King took no action.
A graphic miscarriage story
On Oct. 21, 2020, King saw her doctor, Michael Adkins, for a check-up. During the check-up, King received a pregnancy test that came back negative.
On Oct. 25, 2020, after finishing her shift at work, King went to the emergency room at Baxter Health due to a medical emergency. After arriving at the hospital, she reported her symptoms and that she was “less than twenty weeks pregnant.”
A pregnancy test was administered at the hospital. It too came back negative per a sworn affidavit by the APRN who oversaw her in the emergency room. King was discharged that night and told to follow up with her primary care doctor.
While deposed, King claims to have verbally followed up with Adkins, but no medical records can substantiate that discussion. Following the incident, King began telling various people, including her husband, that she had suffered a miscarriage.
In her Jan. 23, 2023, testimony, King described the doctor as “scraping and pulling” … “baby pieces” out of her. Her medical record indicates that the event never occurred.
On March 18, 2021, Goode wrote a performance evaluation for King, noting that she was “proficient in performing her job in the jail” but that he “would like Tabatha to listen to supervisors when instructed to do an assignment without arguing.”
Goode also noted, “if there is an issue about getting to work on time, let supervisors know as soon as possible.”
King’s annual performance in April 2021 graded her at “below expectations” for reporting to work on time and noted that she had multiple instances of arguing with supervisors.
Despite her issues with reporting to work on time and arguing with supervisors, King was evaluated as “meeting expectations” and was recommended for a merit pay increase.
King then approached Captain Lewis about the negative aspects of the evaluation and was advised to write a response to the evaluation on the form. King disputed that she argued with her supervisors.
Sometime in 2021, King notified the nurse at the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office that she was taking anti-anxiety medication. As a result, her gun and badge privileges were revoked for a day that she was not scheduled to work.
Lewis told King to get the required doctor’s note to continue carrying her gun. Her badge and firearm were restored to her the very next day.
On April 14, 2021, King was in D Pod of the county jail when Dawn Laurie approached King from behind and lightly pushed her in the back. As a result of the push, King pushed Laurie back before leaving, and reentering the pod. Upon reentering, King took a Guardian RFID device from Laurie’s hand and threw it across the room.
The device broke into several pieces. It costs several thousands of dollars.
King attempted to put the device back together after the event, before taking a pen from Laurie’s pocket and throwing it on the ground. Laurie reported the incident to Corporal Maze.
On April 15, 2021, King claimed that she spoke to Captain Lewis about being sexually harassed and assaulted. The only record from Lewis regarding a conversation with King about harassment reflects a conversation from May 2020. No discussion of sexual assault was recorded in that conversation.
On April 19, 2021, Laurie submitted a written statement about what occurred between her and King. Laurie reported that King told her that she “would regret it” if she told anyone what happened. In her statement, Laurie wrote that she did “not want any problems with Tabitha King because of my dealings with her in the past.”
On April 20, 2021, King submitted her statement reporting that Laurie entered the Pod, snuck up behind her, squeezed her ribs, and yelled to scare her. She stated that she reacted by jumping, hitting Laurie’s hand in the process, and knocking the Guardian to the ground.
Video footage of the event was pulled and shown to Sheriff Montgomery, who found that King’s statement did not match what was seen on tape. While discussing the video with Captain Lewis, Montgomery made the decision to terminate King for lying.
After being escorted from the building, King returned later in the day to discuss her firing with Montgomery. According to Montgomery’s testimony, King mentioned that she had reported harassment prior to her firing but made no mention that it was sexual harassment or sexual assault.
King claims that Montgomery was told about the sexual harassment and said that he could not speak about it with her.
Montgomery claims that he first learned of King’s alleged sexual harassment from Baxter County Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge following her termination.
On April 24, 2021, King visited Sergeant Jackie Stinnett of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Arkansas State Police. King notified Stinnett that Goode had sent her nude photos but refused to turn over her phone so it could be copied for evidence. King did not report her alleged rape during the meeting.
King would return to Stinnett two weeks later but would be told that ASP would not pursue the case. A month after that King’s attorney would call Stinnett to state that King had been raped.
On April 27, 2021, King filed a written grievance over her firing prompting the county to start an investigation in May. During that investigation, it was discovered that King had engaged in sexually suggestive or harassing conduct with Ethan Raymond and Kaitlyn Wayland, who worked for the Arkansas State Police.
At one point, King allegedly told multiple employees that she had a “wet pussy” while standing in the jail’s parking lot. King was also found to have shown commercial pornography on her phone to a coworker.
On May 7, 2021, the Baxter County Quorum Court held an official hearing on the firing.
During her hearing, King said the discrepancies in her report were excusable because she prefaced the report with “I do not recall.” She also claimed she was medicated “due to the stress of working for a superior individual whom have [sic] been sexually harassing me,” which made her memory “cloudy.”
The Quorum Court upheld her termination. King would then file an EEOC complaint in June 2021. It would be dismissed in Sept. 2021. King would then file her lawsuit against Montgomery, Goode and Baxter County.
Following the filing, King would, at some point, offer a third of her court winnings to both Jeff Lewis and Brad Lewis via text message. Her reasoning, according to her testimony, is that both men suffered as a result of cleaning up Montgomery’s messes.
All parties are now awaiting a mandatory settlement hearing in Jan. next year. If King and those that she has accused of wrongdoing cannot reach a settlement, the suit will then move to trial by jury.