Officer Sues Sheriff’s Dept., Co-Workers For Sexual Harassment

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — A member of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s department is suing one of her co-workers, and the department, for defamation of character and sexual harassment. She claims an anonymous posting on a website by her coworker hurt her reputation.

For 15 years, Cathy Borgschatz has worked in the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, and is currently in charge of all investigation in the department.

In 2009, a story about her was published in the Hudson Star Observer and posted on the website With that posting came public comments, but it was a comment traced back to one of her co-workers that has her so upset.

“One of the investigators in the Sheriff’s Office made a comment in the blog in essence that she was a lesbian by innuendo,” said Borgschatz’s attorney, Philip Villaume.

According to the complaint, Deputy Brent Standaert, a fellow investigator, posted a comment that said, “I know for a fact that Cathy played a different instrument in the band.” After an investigation, the Standaert was disciplined.

“He received a three-day suspension and had been written up for sexual harassment,” said Villaume. “From that point on, it was out position that the Sheriff’s Department covered it up.”

Borsgschatz’s attorney said Standaert should have been terminated but, “he grieved it apparently to minimize the public aspect of the discipline and they had taken out of his letter of reprimand that he had engaged in sexual harassment.”

Villiame believes the department changed Standaert’s file so he could be eligible for promotion in the future. Villame’s calls to the department have gone unanswered, so he hopes the lawsuit will get their attention.

Villiaume said his client has been subject to public ridicule she is suing for damages in excess of $50,000.

A representative from the St. Croix Sheriff’s department said, on advice from lawyers, that the department has no comment about pending lawsuits.

Justin Kwong teaches social networks and virtual worlds at William Mitchell College of law. He said the Patriot Act lowered the hurdle to get information from websites to trace anonymous postings back to the author.

Kwong said most internet providers will disclose that private IP information if requested by law enforcement.

More from Reg Chapman
  • Murph

    Maybe they should just kiss and make up!

  • Jim

    Another attempt by a public employee to extort taxpayers. Why should the public ultimately have to pay for these “events”? By suing, we taxpayers are the untimate victims. Thousands for hurt feelings. Horrible.

    • Purrmaid

      Your assumption of “only hurt feelings” is incorrect. Harrassment and snarky comments undermine authority. If you want to whine about somebody for creating this problem in the first place, start with the infantile behavior of Officer Standaert.

    • Zing

      Jim, you’re a first class m0ron. The person you should be angry at is the officer that harassed her. He is the one that is going to cost the department and you as a taxpayer money. It was that officers childish and unprofessional behavior that had no place on the job. If you want to save money then that guy should be fired so he does not cause more trouble. The victim of the harassment is entitled to defend herself and use legal means to receive compensation. With out that recourse she and others in her position would have no way to bring leverage to the situation. So, Jim, think before you speak and stop blaming the victim. It’s not the 1950s anymore you tool!

  • Officer Sues Sheriff’s Dept., Co-Workers For Sexual Harassment « CBS Minnesota

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  • Dave

    Well is it the truth or not tell use the whole story. Cause if she is it is not a lie and she has nothing to complain about.

    • no lie

      Truth or not, wrong is wrong. Otherwise we would all be going around saying things like, “you know, Dave the fat guy, or Dave the really ugly guy or Dave the bald guy, or Dave the guy that smells like urine, or Dave the ugly, fat guy who stinks.” ect ect ect. Its mean and unnecessary. I hope you get my point.

  • Enough said

    When did the sheriff’s department hire Cain?

    • Zing

      Letterman is an old school jerk of a “comedian”, agreed, but Bill Clinton did not harass anybody. He just got busy with a willing intern. Ladies like progressive smart dudes it seems.

      • See BS

        Juanita Broddrick and Paula Jones like smart progressive men who drain the oil reserve and call it a “Budget Surplus?” with SUV’s?

  • See BS

    According to the 1st Amendment — the government isn’t allowed to pass laws that restrict free speech.

    I don’t see any astrisks about Sexual Harassment.

    Isn’t it Fascism when your employer has control over your life outside the workplace?

    • Zing

      Have you ever heard of yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater? Free speech does not apply to everything. You can’t spread lies or harass people. Don’t be such an idiot!

      • See BS

        Your opinion is completely missing from the Constitution and it hasn’t been properly ratified.

  • Willy

    Personally I think it likely that Officer Borgschatz illegally used her position as a police investigator in order to gain ‘insider knowlegde’ to determine the identity of the person who left the arguably inflamitory, but certainly not illegal, comment. If anyone deserves to be not only fired, but brought up on criminal charges, it’s Ms Borgschatz.

    • Purrmaid

      Yeah, blame the victim. Shame on you.

  • Rom

    You took the words right out of “my comment”……………very hard to follow and the typos are horrendous.

  • Purrmaid

    What decade is Standaert stuck in? “Gay” as a negative is tired and lame and it is snarky comments like his that make gay kids feel like they “aren’t good enough.” It is 2011, not 1958 so knock it off.

  • Purrmaid

    Well said, AlenaD. The dumbing down of America is apparent in the increasing amount of poorly written articles on a variety of websites.

  • Rags

    Anybody proofread this article? WCCO needs Lou Grant.

  • Jim

    Does anyone proof read anymore?? COME ON!!!!

  • montrealer

    sexual harassment alledged cases like jeff greetam and francois vanhoutte of Gatineau are no longer going to be tolerated. greetam was dimissed by his employer & vanhoutte suspended by the rcmp

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