Kyle Barnett May 15, 2014, 4:48pm

NEW ORLEANS – A former employee of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is suing Sheriff Lonnie Greco claiming that after it was exposed that she had an affair with him she was fired.

Carol E. Ruggles filed suit against Sheriff Lonnie Greco, individually and in his official capacities, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on May 4.

Ruggles asserts that while she was employed by Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, Greco repeatedly flirted with her, but she ignored him because she was married. The plaintiff alleges that after her husband died after a lengthy illness on Oct.  27, 2011, Greco’s flirtation became more intense and that he invited her to take a motorcycle trip with him and two other people to Panama City, Fla. for nine days to which she agreed.

Ruggles claims that during the trip she submitted to the defendant’s advances and that the two of them shared a motel room and had sexual intercourse during the trip and afterward entered into a relationship that lasted 16 months. She claims that during that time they exchanged thousands of texts message, some of a highly sexual nature.

Ruggles alleges that in August 2013 she officially told Greco she was no longer interested in being in a relationship with him, but that she would like to remain an employee of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office. She claims the following day she was brought into a meeting in Greco’s office at the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office with counsel Frederick Yorsch, deputy chief Brian Boudreaux, deputy chief Monica Nicosia and detective Aaron Verett and was accused of trying to illegally acquire prescription medication through a practice called “doctor shopping.” Ruggles asserts she was given the option to be charged with a doctor shopping charge or resign from her position of which she chose the latter.

The plaintiff further claims that her phone was seized by Verett who deleted files from it, many that included photos and video of Greco. Ruggles alleges that after she contacted Greco he told her he would arrange for her to receive a job with Sheriff Ed Gautreaux in east Baton Rouge Parish, but that she did not receive the promised position.

On Oct. 15, 2013 Ruggles claims she was arrested by the Louisiana State Police and charged with 28 counts of doctor shopping by receiving the same controlled substance from two doctors simultaneously. The plaintiff alleges that the next day she bonded out of jail and after contacting a fellow co-worker at the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office who she belonged to a support group with two police officers showed up at her home and took her to a mental hospital. She claims she was drug tested and informed by staff that the only reason she was there was due to the affair with Greco. Shortly afterward Greco publicly admitted to having the affair with Ruggles, the suit claims.

The defendant is accused of aggravating the plaintiff’s fragile mental state after losing her husband, wrongful termination, having her arrested and violating her civil rights.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for emotional distress, loss of sleep, nervousness, nightmares, anger, frustration, depression and anxiety.

Ruggles is represented by attorneys Patrick J. Eskew and Ronald L. Wilson of New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan.

Case no. 2:14-cv-01021.

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