Bolivar Mayor Plays Part in Sexual Harassment Suit

BOLIVAR, Mo.-- According to documents acquired by KOLR10, Kera Cantrell was fired from Bolivar's Citizens Memorial Hospital in November of 2016.

According to attorney Jay Kirksey and the lawsuit he and Cantrell filed just this month that termination came shortly after Cantrell reported she'd been sexually harassed.

In the lawsuit, Cantrell reports she was frequently taunted by cardiologist John Best. She says Best-- who also happens to be the Mayor of Bolivar-- gave her nicknames and made inappropriate sexual comments on her physical appearance.

"The environment of that lab included inappropriate sexual banter and dialogue," Kirksey says.

Soon after a number of similar incidents, Kirksey says she turned to the hospital's HR department but was let go shortly after her complaints.

"She followed policy she reported to her immediate supervisor and to others,” Kirksey says.

But the hospital says otherwise. In a statement released to KOLR10 this afternoon the hospital said quote:

"We adamantly deny the allegations contained in the petition. Miss Cantrell was terminated for sleeping on the job and made no allegations of harassment or inappropriate treatment until after she was terminated."

"That is totally false," Kirksey responded Friday.

But Kirksey argues that's not only untrue, it's a poor excuse for termination.

"It didn't mean she had to be fired. She could have been written up. They could've reprimanded her," he says.

This month the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Missouri Commission on Human Rights issued Cantrell a right to sue her former employer.

The lawsuit comes just days before the city elects it's next mayor, though Kirksey says this is hardly political.

"This has nothing to do with the election," he said. 

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