St. Landry

Nov 26, 2013 5:13 PM by Ian Auzenne

Port Barre town employee wins sexual harrassment suit

A St. Landry Parish judge has awarded a Port Barre city employee more than $32,000 in damages in connection with a sexual harrassment lawsuit.

In the suit, David Bell alleged that former Port Barre mayor John Fontenot sexually harrassed him between 2010 and 2011. According to testimony, Fontenot, who served from 1991 to 2006, accosted Bell at both his place of employment and at his home.

Judge Alonzo Harris wrote in his opinion that police and current city employees, including mayor Gil Savoy, did not take any significant action to keep Fontenot away from Bell or town property.

"(Police chief Deon Boudreaux) testified that Mr. Fontenot was told to stay away from city facilities," Harris wrote in his opinion.

"But nothing else was down by the Town (sic) after other incidents of sexual harrassment by Mr. Fontenot."

Savoy says town officials are not sure whether the town will appeal. He says he and other town officials will discuss their next steps with the town's attorney.

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