Investigation into Saline Co. health director revived

Bronson Farmer, Saline County Health Department Director (KSN Photo)

SALINA, Kansas – The Saline County Sheriff has now reopened an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint against the county’s new health department director.

The case was reopened Monday.

Last week, Saline County commissioners held a public session where a number of citizens spoke out against the hiring of Bronson Farmer as director of the Saline County Health Department.

Because of the nature of the matter, KSN chose not to identify the woman who claims Farmer sexually harassed her back in 2006 when they worked together at the health department.

“I worry that with him having a position of authority, that he is going to abuse it and probably end up doing the same thing to other women,” said the woman to commissioners last week.

Farmer denies the allegations.

“There was nothing to the allegations then, and there’s nothing to them now,” said Farmer. He told KSN the claims are evidence of “character assassination” and that people are trying to discredit him.

KSN asked Farmer about the extent of his relationship with the woman who filed the complaint.

“There was a work relationship there. There was never any type of relationship, really, other than just co-employees,” said Farmer.

At Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Bronson Farmer took an active role in representing the health department, despite the now-open investigation.

Farmer worked for the health department for 15 years until he was fired in August 2013. While Farmer told KSN he wants to focus on his future after being rehired, some Saline County/Salina residents are speaking out against him.

“A man who has been terminated from the health department in what can only be described as ‘questionable’ circumstances, political or not, leaves me without trust or confidence in you, as county government officials,” said Judy Larson at last week’s public meeting, as televised on Salina Access TV.

There there have been no formal charges made against Farmer.

The sheriff said he needs to interview more people before he can decide how to move forward with this case. Until then, Farmer is expected to continue working, as normal, for the department.

Saline County Commissioners Chairman, Randy Duncan, came under fire after last week’s meetings after he made a comment about the accuser’s sexual harassment claims against Farmer. Duncan said the woman could “give pointers” about sexual assault awareness month. He issued a formal apology at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.

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