Deputy demoted for inappropriate behavior

Joseph Cashwell

August 25, 2010 7:00:50 AM PDT
ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned a top-ranking law officer in Cumberland County has been disciplined and demoted for inappropriate behavior.Sheriff Earl Moose Butler confirmed Tuesday that he demoted the former operations supervisor to the lowest rank of deputy after an administrative hearing earlier this month.

"I will not tolerate any non-compliance with policy in this Sheriff's office," Butler said. "We have worked too hard as a professional organization to put up with any kind of foolishness or compliant that doesn't comply with us."

It all started when allegations against former Sheriff's Captain Joseph Cashwell surfaced about a month ago. After an anonymous letter was sent to Sheriff Butler, a second letter was sent to the ABC11 I-Team asking Eyewitness News to investigate.

The letter accuses then-Capt. Cashwell of, "...sexually harassing/assaulting sworn female and civilian members of the department."

The writer goes on to say, "the female employees did not want to come forward for fear of jeopardizing their careers."

After receiving the letter, Sheriff Butler asked Fayetteville attorney Ronnie Mitchell to investigate the allegations. Mitchell told ABC11 he couldn't substantiate all the allegations, but said there was enough evidence of inappropriate behavior to warrant severe discipline.

Sheriff Butler said he couldn't disclose specific information about the incident, but says there is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

"In service training and that is sexually harassment is a big part of our training," Butner said. "We have our attorney who teaches it here and that's part of our training as I said, it's ongoing."

As a part of the Sheriff's command staff, Cashwell supervised the department's operations bureau overseeing all road deputies, as well as civilian employees.

Cashwell is on leave until the end of the month, when he returns he will be assigned as a deputy in the Cumberland County Detention Center.

Sheriff Butler says he hopes this action sends a strong message to all of his employees that inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated.

ABC11 attempted to contact Cashwell, but were unable to reach him.

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