City of Camden, Mayor served in sexual harrasment lawsuit

Camden Mayor Julian Lott and the City of Camden were served summons in relation to an ongoing sexual harassment complaint by Amy Perrin, former Assistant to the Mayor, according to Ouchita County Sheriff David Norwood.

City Attorney Michael Frey confirmed the summons had been received by the city.

"I can confirm that the City received a complaint yesterday filed by a former employee. It is certainly a serious matter and is of the utmost importance due to the nature of the allegations," Frey said. "The City will file a formal response with the court soon, but I expect the litigation to be long and arduous. It is a sad and bitter moment for Camden and everyone involved."

In the suit, Perrin alleges that Lott made repeated sexual advances toward her and that when she rebuffed him, he retaliated against her professionally.

The suit, which was filed on September 29, names Lott as a defendant, as well as the City of Camden.

Perrin alleges in the suit violation of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, "outrageous conduct" by Lott and wrongful termination.

The suit requests damages to be awarded due to Perrin's alleged loss of past and future income, medical bills she sustained as a result of the harassment, extreme emotional distress resulting from the harassment, pain and suffering and "other damages, all in a sum and amount in excess of the minimum amount necessary to confer jurisdiction upon the United States District Court in a diversity of citizenship case."

The 17-page court filing states that when Lott was first elected, Perrin was "enthusiastic and happy, beginning service ... with admiration regarding his vision for the city." She "respected him for his work ethic and determination."

The suit alleges that as "Lott became more comfortable in his position and more comfortable with the personnel at the municipal building his behavior changed progressively. At first it was subtle in regards to a sexual relationship with the Plaintiff."

In May 2020, the suit alleges, Lott asked Perrin to have sexual intercourse with him, and "he promised she would like it." She refused, "and her career as an employee of the City of Camden was placed in such a position that she had to fear for her job and physical safety every day thereafter," according to the suit.

According to the suit, when Perrin refused Lott's advances, "he set a standard of attempting to make her fail in her job duties by withholding necessary information needed to effectively do her and his job, such as withholding information, ignoring calls, texts, emails and assigning last minute deadlines."

"On numerous occasions Lott withheld information or extended periods of time, only forwarding when a day or two before deadline. This was done in retaliation for Plaintiff refusing Lott's request for sex," the suit alleges.

Lott also allegedly spoke to Perrin about "his infidelity, sexual conquests and prowess" and told her that "nobody refuses him," and thanks to his status as mayor and senior pastor at Koinonia of Grace Church, "nobody will believe" her if she came forward with allegations of harassment against him.

A press release from Lott, issued on October 7, insinuated that the lawsuit's timing was politically motivated, noting his ongoing reelection campaign.

"I would be remiss if I did not draw your attention to the timing of the filing of this lawsuit. The accuser waited to file this lawsuit until the 40th day leading up to Election Day. She worked for the city for over 2 years after the alleged sexual harassment began. Only after she was terminated did she begin to circulate the false accusations of sexual harassment," the release states.

Lott could not be reached Friday morning for comments regarding the summons.