BLACKFOOT — In light of recent accusations and criminal charges, all three deputy coroners in Bingham County have submitted letters of resignation.
Those resignations, which take effect Nov. 10, came in response to a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery filed against interim coroner Jimmy Roberts on Oct. 17. Court records related to the charge allege that Roberts grabbed a woman’s breast in Ada County on April 13.
Among the deputy coroners planning to leave is Chief Deputy Coroner Stacie Salazar. She told EastIdahoNews.com that the criminal charge, combined with a negative work environment, led to her resignation.
In her resignation letter, which she provided to EastIdahoNews.com, Salazar states that she will no longer be a part of Roberts’ “reckless and dangerous behavior.”
“It saddens me to leave this position and leave the citizens of our county, once again, not able to trust an elected official who continues to not see the bigger picture, not care for the county’s well-being, all while you continue to feed your own ego and claim innocence — when you know you are not,” she wrote.
Dallen Farmer, another deputy coroner who will leave the office on Nov. 10, echoed a similar sentiment.
Farmer brought up former Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland, who was sentenced Tuesday for pulling a gun on a church youth group.
Farmer says it is unfortunate that another county official is in the position of facing criminal charges.
Before tendering their resignations, all three deputy coroners — Salazar, Farmer and Leland Sorensen — signed a letter requesting Roberts’ resignation.
“We refuse to work in an environment where we feel unsafe due to the recent allegation of sexual battery in Ada County,” the letter says. “This dangerous conduct as an elected official and representative of Bingham County is not acceptable. For the safety and well-being of the people of our county, we strongly encourage your resignation immediately as coroner.”
In addition to the accusation, Salazar said that Roberts’ response was lacking.
“To hear it from your own accord and blame your alcohol abuse is not acceptable from a man in your position,” Salazar says in her resignation letter. “It’s not acceptable for any person at all and to hear you try to defend your actions is disconcerting.”
Salazar also expressed anger about Roberts’ actions during an Oct. 2 conversation between the two. In a recording she provided to EastIdahoNews.com, Salazar can be heard confronting Roberts about the allegations — weeks before charges were filed.
“I swear to God, I don’t f***ing remember any of that s***,” Roberts can be heard saying in the recording. “I am f***ing so sorry I put you in this position or anybody in this position.”
Salazar then recommends Roberts resign before the allegations become public.
Roberts requests Salazar’s assistance packing up his belongings and says that he will hand the keys to the truck over to Salazar once his stuff is removed from the office. Salazar took the comments as Roberts agreeing to requests that he resign.
Roberts, though, has not resigned from his position.
Bingham County commissioners, the prosecutor, sheriff, clerk, treasurer and assessor called for Roberts to step down last week after he was charged saying “personal distractions must not interrupt the service that is provided by the Coroner’s Office.”
RELATED | Bingham County officials call for coroner to resign
EastIdahoNews.com has made several attempts to contact Roberts for comment but has not yet received a response.
In her resignation letter, Salazar says that she will return to the coroner’s office once Roberts has left it.
“Over the next two weeks, I will continue to serve the citizens of our county and represent the coroner’s office as Chief Deputy,” she says in the letter. “I request and plead that you submit your resignation as Bingham County Coroner. Once you make the correct and proper decision to resign, I will gladly come back to represent what the community deserves and needs, instead of feelings of distrust and embarrassment.”
The post All three Bingham deputy coroners resign over their boss’s sexual battery allegations appeared first on East Idaho News.
All three Bingham deputy coroners resign over their boss’s sexual battery allegations
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