As of Tuesday, May 6, 2014
A sex crime that ended in jail time for a former Idaho Sheriff’s deputy has spawned a sweeping lawsuit against the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.
A complaint filed in federal district court in Coeur d’Alene on April 25 names as defendants Idaho County, Sheriff Doug Giddings, Undersheriff Jim Gorges, and former ICSO Deputy Daniel Funderburg – the last of whom was arrested and jailed, plea bargained, and was fired after his illegal sexual relationship with an underage Kamiah teenager came to light in 2012. The victim and her parents are plaintiffs seeking damages under federal laws (concerning due process, municipal liability and conspiracy) as well as state laws (concerning invasion of privacy and negligence/tortious conduct), which the defendants allegedly violated during the Funderburg scandal.
“We intend to put the facts before a jury,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Samuel T. Creason of Lewiston-based law firm Creason, Moore, Dokken & Geidl.
An attorney with law firm Paukert & Troppmann of Spokane, Wash., which is also representing the plaintiffs, filed “notice of claim” documents with Idaho County in March 2013 and September 2013. These filings allege that Funderburg’s relationship with the victim began in August 2012, but that her parents “first learned of the illegal relationship…after Nov. 1, 2012.”
Echoing the earlier tort notices —- which claimed compensation “in excess of $1 million” in order to make sure the claimants are “not prohibited from bringing all lawful and just claims” —- the April 25 federal complaint alleges Giddings and Gorges knew Funderburg was “spending considerable time with [the victim]” but did not take appropriate action to curtail that contact. The complaint also alleges Gorges “knew about the illegal sexual relationship…[and] took efforts to conceal and cover-up the illegal sexual relationship…by attempting to persuade [the victim]’s mother to not press charges against Funderburg.”
A tip to a Clearwater County prosecutor led to an investigation followed by Funderburg’s arrest that December.
ICSO Sergeant Carlos Martinez – one of the officers tasked with relieving Funderburg of duty two days before Funderburg’s arrest – documented a conversation during which Funderburg claimed to have told Gorges about the sexual relationship with the victim a month earlier.
Giddings enlisted Kootenai County to conduct an internal review. According to the Lewiston Tribune, magistrate Jeff Payne appointed a special prosecutor – Lewis County’s Zachary Pall, who prosecuted Funderburg – to follow up on a criminal investigation of Gorges; Gorges was reinstated after the internal investigation and no criminal charges have been brought against him.
Facing prosecution in Lewis County court, Funderburg pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a 16 to 17-year-old; in March 2013, he was sentenced to six years in prison (which was suspended in favor of probation) and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and $530 in court costs. Funderburg, 32, is a Kooskia resident according to the Idaho State Police sex offender registry.
The victim and her parents have requested several types of damages in the current federal civil complaint: some in amounts “to be determined at trial” and others in amounts “deemed just and reasonable as provided by law,” as well as attorney’s fees and “such other and further relief as the court deems just and equitable.”
The federal court issued summons to each of the named defendants on April 28; federal rules allow 21 days from the date of service for response.
Idaho County attorney Kirk MacGregor declined to comment for this article, citing an ethical obligation against commenting on current litigation as well as his expectation the county will be represented by an outside attorney provided by the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) insurance company. Giddings told the Associated Press he had seen the lawsuit but the agency couldn’t comment.