CONCORD — The new Merrimack County Attorney is anti-cop, treats women employees poorly and has demonstrated a bias against female victims since her election last November, according to a lawsuit filed this week by a employee placed on administrative leave.
The lawsuit also accuses County Attorney Robin Davis, who ran a successful write-in campaign in last year’s election, of victim-blaming and worker intimidation. At one point, the lawsuit said, she questioned why the client of a local lawyer did not fight back during a sexual assault. Davis knows the lawyer, and her office never brought charges in the case, the lawsuit claims.
Davis, a former public defender, said in an email that she could not comment about the lawsuit or her first eight months as county attorney.
A Democrat, Davis sought the county attorney office vacated when President Donald Trump nominated Merrimack County Attorney Scott Murray as the U.S. Attorney in New Hampshire.
“Robin Davis has divided police and prosecutors,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed in Merrimack County Superior Court by Concord lawyer Chuck Douglas. “She has told the (police) chiefs that they work for her and things will be done her way. She has made multiple comments about her feelings that police and prosecutors should not be working so closely.” The Concord Monitor reported the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Deputy Attorney General Jane Young, whose office has oversight of county attorneys, said she would not comment about Davis, given the pending litigation.
Douglas brought the lawsuit on behalf of Tilton resident Jennifer Adams, a deputy for the Merrimack County Sheriff who was assigned as a full-time investigator to the Merrimack County Attorney, specializing as a sexual assault investigator. Adams has been on paid administrative leave since June 10, when she filed a complaint of hostile work environment and gender discrimination with the Merrimack County human resources director.
The 40-page lawsuit quotes Adams extensively. She said Davis started her job by firing two experienced prosecutors — George Steward and Susan Larabee. Davis told the office that she will “fight the cops.” And she treated Adams rudely and aggressively, questioning her work, sometimes in front of others.
At one point, the suit states, Adams had a conversation with Assistant County Attorney George Waldron about the treatment of two female sexual assault victim witness coordinators.
“He (Waldron) said she has an issue with women,” Adams said in the suit.
The county hired a Maine law firm to investigate Davis’ conduct, the suit reads.
“Ms. Davis’ behavior, on several occasions, has gone beyond what is generally acceptable workplace conduct when addressing performance concerns,” the firm reported. The firm also noted that several co-workers interpret Davis as blaming victims in some crimes and questioned whether she harbors a bias against female victims.
The lawsuit spells out three sexual assault cases in which Davis is said to have made questionable decisions:
She questioned why a victim did not fight back or run off when her attorney forced her into oral sex. Davis, who knew the lawyer, questioned why Adams interviewed the victim. She ultimately decided her office would not prosecute.
In a strangulation case, she questioned why the victim had returned to the perpetrator in the first case and why attorneys had sought preventive detention. She removed Adams from the case.
Davis thought a felony kidnapping charge was overcharging in the case of a man who threw his wife down the stairs, locked her in a dog cage, urinated on her and then went upstairs to fire rounds from his gun.
At one point, the suit says, county officials suggested that a male investigator, Mike Russell, be designated as an intermediary between Adams and Davis. Adams said that would not be sensible and “they were again being gender-biased.”
The lawsuit makes claims of interference with contractual relationship between Adams and the county, constructive discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress, gender discrimination and aiding unlawful discrimination.
It seeks damages to cover lost back and future wages and benefits, attorney fees, compensatory damages, enhanced compensatory damages and an apology.