Woman Sues Casper Probation Officer for Sexual Harassment
UPDATE: Wednesday, Wyoming Department of Corrections spokesman Mark Horan said Jaret Maul has not been an employee since Dec. 5. Horan declined to comment about any personnel matters related to Maul.
A Wyoming Department of Corrections officer in Casper used his authority to pressure a woman on probation to send him sexual comments and pictures or risk being sent to jail, according to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday.
Probation officer Jaret Maul is being sued for violating her civil rights only in his individual capacity, and while he was acting under the authority of the Department of Corrections, the department is not named as a defendant.
Maul could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
In May 2018, the Natrona County Circuit Court placed the woman on one year of supervised probation for first-time misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to the civil complaint filed by her attorneys Ian Sandefer and Jamie Woolsey.
The court assigned Maul as her probation officer, and it ordered her to follow the rules or else have her probation revoked, according to the complaint.
After three months, Maul told the woman he would be asking for her to be placed on unsupervised probation or be discharged from probation because she had paid her fines and was fully compliant with the rules.
Soon after that, Maul asked the woman to add him as a friend to her Snapchat account and she accepted his request.
He then began sending her unsolicited sexualized comments and pictures, asking her to send him nude photos of herself, and making explicit statements of the sexual acts he wished and intended to do to her.
This put the woman in an untenable position, according to the complaint. "[She] understood that, on the one hand, Defendant Maul had the power and authority to recommend that her probation be reduced to unsupervised or discharged altogether; on the other hand, she also understood that if she provoked his ire, Defendant Maul had the power and authority to move to revoke her probation and restrain her liberty."
That authority included having access to her file including counseling records and prescriptions.
Faced with this "take it or leave it" choice and the risk of being taken away from her young children, she complied with Maul's requests for sexualized commentary and pictures.
The Wyoming Department of Corrections, according to the complaint, publishes guidelines for the proper behavior of its employees including, "WDOC staff may not initiate, nurture, develop or maintain a personal, romantic, or sexual relationship with any inmate/offender or former inmate/offender, or with an immediate family member of any inmate/offender."
Her attorneys wrote that she is not alone. "Upon information and belief, [the woman] was only one of a number of probationers who Defendant Maul used his position of power and authority to exploit for his sexual purposes and gratification."
She is suing Maul for violating her 14th Amendment rights of equal protection under the law, and for violating her Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
The woman is seeking monetary damages from Maul for the injuries she has suffered, punitive damages, and other relief.