As of Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Three years after a sex scandal struck the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, United States District Judge Edward Lodge on June 10 dismissed a federal civil case against Sheriff Doug Giddings, Undersheriff Jim Gorges and Idaho County.
“They went through the process,” Giddings said Monday, June 20. “It’s a normal process. They came to a conclusion, and it was a good conclusion for us – the one I expected. … All the things they charged us with, maybe somebody was guilty of it, but it wasn’t us.”
The criminal process moved quickly when the scandal was exposed in December 2012: ex-Deputy Daniel L. Funderburg was arrested and jailed, plea bargained and was fired. For his crime – felony sexual battery on a minor 16 to 17 years of age – Funderburg was jailed for 90 days and registered as a sex offender. (He registered a Kooskia address this past March.)
The lawsuit centered on an allegation against Gorges that Funderburg voiced when ICSO moved to relieve Funderburg of duty in December 2012 following Funderburg’s illegal sexual relationship with an underage Kamiah teenager.
Funderburg got involved with the girl that August, and according to Lodge’s ruling, cut off contact with her Nov. 6, 2012. Giddings learned of the relationship on Dec. 3, 2012, and, Lodge noted, “on that date, Giddings arranged for Funderburg to be put on administrative leave.”
The victim and her family sued Idaho County, Giddings, Gorges and Funderburg in April 2014, alleging violations of the 14th Amendment and Fifth Amendment, municipal liability, invasion of privacy and conspiracy. All the plaintiffs’ federal claims were dismissed, and Lodge did not rule on the plaintiffs state law claims.
Funderburg’s allegation against Gorges was reviewed in 2012 by the Lewis County prosecutor, and the prosecutor brought no charges against Gorges. In Giddings’ view, the dismissal of the federal case marks the second time Funderburg’s allegation against Gorges was found not credible.
“They can say what they want, but through the federal court and through the prosecutor, it’s all bogus,” Giddings said Monday, June 20. “It wasn’t true. It wasn’t accurate. … They had no grounds to stand on.”
In deciding the lawsuit Lodge noted the victim had “obtained a default judgment” against Funderburg earlier in the proceedings.
“In issuing this order, the court does not seek to minimize [the victim’s] misfortune or the abuse she suffered,” Lodge wrote of the decision to dismiss the lawsuit. “While the court deeply sympathizes with [the victim] and her family, liability cannot be established as a matter of law under the facts alleged here.”
The Free Press received no reply in response to requests for comment from either the attorney who represented the private plaintiffs or the attorney who represented Idaho County, Gorges and Giddings. The county’s insurance carrier defended the county in this matter.