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Former Sherwood employee sues city for $600,000

IT analyst says Fourth Amendment rights violated

A former information technology analyst for the city of Sherwood filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. He is seeking nearly $600,000 in damages after being terminated.

According to the lawsuit, filed Feb. 7 in U.S. District Court, Curtis Stoecklin worked for the city from July 2010 to Feb. 8, 2012, marrying a woman who he claims had “severe mental health problems.”

Stoecklin, who apparently lived in Beaverton at the time, claims his wife physically assaulted him, causing him to suffer visible injuries.

“In order to protect himself from potential false claims by Mrs. Stoecklin, using his cellphone, plaintiff made a record of her aberrant behavior and of injuries to himself inflicted by her,” states the suit filed by attorney Linda L. Marshall. “She accosted him when she found that he had photos of the injuries she had inflicted on him and attempted to delete the photos.”

As a result, Stoecklin said he kept a log of his wife’s abusive behavior, storing it on a private folder on a city of Sherwood computer, something he said he was permitted to do.

On Dec. 11, 2011, Stoecklin claimed his wife jumped on his back after spinal surgery. He left his house and called the Beaverton Police Department. Several days later, police contacted Stoecklin, telling him his wife claimed it was he who physically attacked her during the incident.

Stoecklin told police his wife threatened him, herself and the couple’s unborn child. He then remotely connected to the city of Sherwood’s computer system to access recordings of the Dec. 11 incidents, playing them for officers.

Beaverton officers took Stoecklin into custody, booking him into the Washington County Jail for 12 hours after charging him with one count of fourth-degree assault and two counts of illegally obtaining communications.

Stoecklin’s lawsuit states that on Dec. 14, 2011, Sherwood’s information technology director accessed Stoecklin’s computer and downloaded his personal folder to a flash drive and gave it to Sherwood police “without the benefit of any search warrant.”

Stoecklin was then placed on paid administrative leave and told by Sherwood administrators the reason was that he “stored and accessed illegal recordings on the city’s computer system.”

“Plaintiff’s audio files were not illegal recordings,” Stoecklin’s attorney wrote.

On Jan. 9, 2012, the city’s human resources manager told Stoecklin it was recommended that he be fired. He later had a pre-termination hearing in front of city officials explaining his actions, and “he also explained that it was common for city employees to keep private and personal matters on their city computers.”

Sherwood City Manager Joe Gall said the city had no comment about the pending litigation.

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