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DCSO lieutenant retiring with $33,000 settlement

Lt. Tim Leak had been on paid leave since May 2016

DCSO reach agreement with employee

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Correcting, removing Erik Utter from Nelson reference, as he was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing)

Nearly 15 months after Deschutes County sheriff's Lt. Tim Leak was placed on paid administrative leave over alleged violations of agency policies, the 25-year department veteran and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office have come to a roughly $33,000 settlement before his Feb. 28 retirement.

Leak was put on paid administrative leave in May 17, 2016, while an internal investigation was launched into those allegations. 

In October 2016, Leak filed a complaint with the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming he was put on leave for creating a hostile work environment because of a comment he made over the police radio. 

He went on to say the comment was appropriate and work-related. 

The complaint also claimed the agency directly stated it would be actively trying to find other allegations made against him. 

NewsChannel 21 reached out Monday to BOLI to see if the complaint filed in October 2016 was still active, but our calls weren't returned. 

Sheriff Shane Nelson said the agreement was a business decision. 

"This settlement will involve taxpayer money; again, it was a business decision, it was what was best for this office. And in an effort to move forward, when we saw that he was slated to retire on Feb. 28, we made the business decision not to put more money into an investigation, instead settle with Mr. Leak," Nelson said. 

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Here's the announcement issued Monday afternoon by the sheriff's office about resolution of the matter:

"On November 27, 2017, Deschutes County Human Resources received notice from Lt. Tim Leak of his intent to retire, effective February 28th, 2018.

"The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has since come to a separation and settlement agreement (release of claims) with Leak. 

"Both the Sheriff's Office and Leak have agreed to a release of claims and neither party will file a lawsuit against the other. As a part of the agreement, the Sheriff's Office will administratively close the internal affairs investigation into Leak."

In the announcement, Sheriff Shane Nelson said, "People who do not fall in line with the mission and values of this office will not work here. This agreement is in the best interests of the citizens we work for.

"This is a business decision I have made to end this matter and continue to move the sheriff's office forward," Nelson said, adding, "We are learning from our past and following the course we have charted for the future."

Leak has been on paid administrative leave since May 17, 2016. His salary while on administrative leave was $238,161.71, the sheriff's office said. He will receive $33,330 under the terms of the settlement agreement.

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Nelson said back in 2016 that the alleged policy violations involving Kozowski were "not criminal in nature," unlike a prior incident that led to the departure of captain Scott Beard.

Nelson recently fired Deputy Eric Kozowski, who had run against Nelson and lost in 2016. He was the ninth dismissed sheriff's office employee in the past two years.


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