Former Chelan County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Shepard has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Spokane citing instances of harassment, retaliation, and discrimination. Shepard served as a deputy from 2013-2022, but claims in his suit the work environment was abusive and that he was undermined by both peers and superiors for his choosing to leave Grace City Church. Grace City is known to be a place of worship for many in law enforcement. Shepard identified both former Sheriff Brian Burnett and current Sheriff Mike Morrison, saying the two had encouraged him to join Grace City Church in 2015. He says Burnett was an advocate for programs at the church like marriage counseling courses that Shepard had enrolled in with his wife. But Shepard left the church in 2016 while dealing with a divorce. He alleges that after leaving the church, retaliation ensued at the sheriff's office that pushed him to resign. He also names leadership in the SWAT team and other employees in the sheriff's office who he says bullied him, and claims he was denied opportunity for promotions and training without cause.
Morrison left the church after winning election to the Sheriff's Office, the county has not filed a response to the lawsuit. A hearing date has not yet been set.