La Vergne police officer countersues sexual harassment complaint

Former officers and the City of La Vergne deny allegations in the sexual harassment complaint.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 1:13 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The City of La Vergne and two former officers have filed responses denying allegations in the sexual harassment complaint filed against them.

In response to the lawsuit from Officer Maegan Hall, the city and Sergeants Lewis Powell and Henry “Ty” McGowan all denied the allegations of “grooming,” sexual harassment and having a sexually hostile work environment.

In their responses, all three are looking for the complaint to be dismissed.

Along with these responses one of those former officers, Sgt. Lewis Powell is countersuing Officer Maegan Hall for defamation.

All three denied the following allegations from the complaint:

“Where Ms. Hall sought role models at her new job, she instead found predators. In place of offering professional development, her supervisors and the Chief of Police groomed her for sexual exploitation. They colluded in using their authority to systematically disarm her resistance and entrap her in degrading and abusive sexual relationships, even sharing tips on the best ways to manipulate and exploit her. Maegan Hall felt trapped in the role assigned to her at the City of La Vergne Police Department and, in an attempt to escape, she nearly killed herself. Then, the City blamed her for everything.”

In a countercomplaint, Powell is suing Hall for defamation and is seeking a jury trial, compensatory damages of $200,000, punitive damages, and more.

The countercomplaint says Hall is liable for the tort of defamation after, “Recklessly or knowingly expressing false and defamatory accusations on television about the Plaintiff’s character.”

It states in late February 2023, Hall appeared on News Channel 5 with her attorney and while on TV, she made allegations against Powell.

“Although the broadcast did not state POWELL’s name, his identity was readily apparent from the context, especially given that POWELL’s picture was posted, and given that her lawsuit (published online) filled in any gaps left by the television interview,” the countercomplaint states.

The countercomplaint adds that while on TV Hall alleged Powell had sexually harassed her, “Further, she alleged that he had engaged in non-consensual physical and sexual contact with her — although she apparently declined to call it “rape.” And she alleged that POWELL had acted with other high-up officers at the Police Department to victimize her sexually.”

It states the allegations of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault and corruption against Powell were all defamatory.

The countercomplaint adds that the allegations Hall said in the broadcast were false and knew they were false, or at minimum reckless with regard to their truth or falsity.

“As a result of the News Channel 5 broadcast(s), POWELL has suffered damage to his reputation, and he has also suffered emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of income,” the countercomplaint said.

Within the countercomplaint, Powell stated that in March or May of 2022, Hall began flirting with him, pressuring him to engage in sexual relations with her.

“Initially, she began by talking about sex. She complained to POWELL that her own marital sex life was unsatisfying. After POWELL responded with an idea or two about how she might spice things up with her husband, HALL asked if POWELL could demonstrate. That way, she said that she would know how to please her husband,” the countercomplaint said.

It states that at first, he said “no, thank you,” in a “somewhat playful tone,” however, having temporary problems in his own marriage, he began to be tempted.

The countercomplaint states she sent him sexual text messages for multiple weeks before, “at Hall’s suggestion,” they began meeting in private on their days off.

“Ultimately, POWELL did engage in consensual oral sex with HALL, even though both parties were already married ... However, Powell immediately regretted this act of treachery,” it said.

According to the countercomplaint, in around May 2022, Powell began trying to break things off with Hall, saying that he loved his wife.

It was then stated that she persisted in trying to entrap him back into a relationship. Eventually, after Powell “held firm, saying that he wanted to be with his own wife instead,” she moved on and the relationship ended in May or June 2022.

Hall’s attorneys previously filed a motion for a default judgment for a judge, but that was denied. The case is expected to move forward to a trial.

This is a developing story. This story will be updated.

WSMV4 has reported extensively on the scandal since news of it first broke. Here’s what we’ve found:

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 5 La Vergne officers fired amid sex investigation

‘Unacceptable’: La Vergne police chief, mayor address sex investigation

Tenn. officers involved in sex scandal reprimanded before

La Vergne working to retrain city employees after police sex scandal

No charges filed against Tenn. officers involved in sex scandal

City wants state to decertify Tenn. officers fired in sex scandal

A ‘Girls Gone Wild’ party, Strip Uno and Lies

La Vergne police sex scandal tapes obtained by WSMV4