High-ranking Rush City corrections officer under investigation over sexual harassment claim
Several women, whose identities 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS agreed to protect, said they filed sexual harassment complaints against a lieutenant at the Rush City Correctional Facility but were unaware of the outcomes of the subsequent investigations dating from 2006, 2015, and 2021.
Information obtained through a Data Practices Act request revealed Lt. Trevor Brewer was disciplined after a fourth woman accused him of sexual harassment in 2012.
Minnesota Department of Correction (DOC) records show Brewer was suspended for five days at the conclusion of the 2012 investigation. The woman who had her complaint sustained in 2012 is unidentified in the public records.
The corrections officer who filed the complaint in 2006 was a sergeant at Rush City at the time of the alleged sexual harassment. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Brewer had cornered her in a locked room with no windows.
“He grabbed me, my arms were down, and he restrained me and started shoving his tongue down my throat, and I tried to get away, but he’s way stronger than I am,” the retired corrections officer said. “And I was screaming, ‘Let go of me,’ and he didn’t immediately let go. He kept asking me for a kiss after he had already shoved his tongue down my throat. And he finally let me go because I did not agree to it.”
A former lieutenant who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Brewer in 2015 said in a phone conversation the stress from Brewer’s actions and the subsequent investigation caused her to leave the DOC.
The corrections officer who filed the 2021 sexual harassment complaint against Brewer said in a phone conversation that Brewer used intimidating behavior after she told her superiors about his conduct.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was able to confirm, through sources and talking directly with the female DOC employees who filed the complaints, that there is a minimum of four women who’ve made sexual harassment complaints against Brewer, but so far, only one ended with formal discipline. The other three women who talked to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS about their complaints said they did not know the final outcome of their complaints.
Minnesota DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell said the agency is doing everything possible to make things safe for all DOC employees.
“I wanna be clear that we take the issue of sexual harassment, abuse — and harassment in general — of staff very seriously, and I think we have,” Schnell said. “I am not speaking about this employee, but in any case where there is conduct that we can substantiate and work through the process where we are going to take action up to, and including, termination when we can substantiate that.”
Schnell also confirmed DOC hired the law firm Lathrop, Grey, Plant and Moody to investigate a personnel matter, but because of data privacy laws, he could not confirm it was for Lt. Brewer.
Sources have told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Brewer is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the 2021 complaint, which is ongoing.
Attempts to reach the union representing Brewer for comment have been unsuccessful.