Family wants Spirit Lake police chief, mayor to step down following sexual harassment allegations


by Katie Utehs &

Posted on July 12, 2012 at 6:25 PM

SPIRIT LAKE-- Last week KREM 2 News broke the story of a sexual harassment claim against Sprit Lake’s police chief, but it may not be the end of the allegations in the small town.

The family of the former police administrator says the mayor, along with the chief, needs to resign for a variety of sexual allegations.

Sherry Schroeder says her young son was traumatized after his interaction with Chief Pat Lawless. She is one of many in the Spirit Lake community who are fed up with the way the city has been going.

“I think the police chief needs to step down, and I think the mayor needs to resign,” she says.

Lawless and Mayor Todd Clary are named in a sexual harassment notice of tort claim. It was filed by a former officer trainee. She says the chief verbally harassed her and touched her inappropriately.

Now the Schroeders are coming forward. Sherry’s husband Andy worked as the administrator until he resigned last August. They say their two sons were harassed by the chief. The exact wording of the allegations is too graphic for KREM 2 to share.

“My son broke his arm, and he came out making lewd gestures about my son, and then proceeded to make lewd comments about my son with his arm in the cast,” Sherry said.

She says she brought her claims to Mary Clary and outlined the incident for him. About a week after that meeting, the police chief returned to work.

The family is now working with an attorney to determine their next move. They hope it makes an impact on the leadership of Spirit Lake.

“People are really upset. I mean this just looks bad on all of us. You know, to have this going on in such a small, nice town. There are a lot of people who are extremely upset.”

The mayor did not wish to comment on this story. Chief Lawless said he is not allowed to comment.