By: Nick Beres
LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Shocking findings of sexual misconduct rocked the LaVergne Police Department recently resulting in the firing of five officers and the police chief.
One of those officers — Maegan Hall — became the face of the scandal and the target of nationwide ridicule She’s now filed a federal lawsuit.
For the first time, Hall now talks of a toxic workplace behind closed doors and how sexual misconduct spiraled out of control.
Hall was 24 when she was hired as a rookie officer at the LaVergne Police Department two years ago.
Her plan was for a career in law enforcement. She now knows that dream is likely gone.
“I remember while applying for the job at the PD they described the environment as a family. But while I was aspiring to protect others, they did not protect me,” said Hall.
By now, most of the country knows what happened.
Hall, four other officers and the police chief were fired last month.
This, after two separate investigations found that Hall engaged in sexual activity and/or shared intimate photos and videos with several male officers.
The chief and two sergeants were among those implicated.
Now, Hall and her attorney, Wesley Clark, are suing those three supervisors and the city in federal court for civil rights violations.
“Maegan wasn’t looked at as a rookie cop to be trained and promoted. She was looked at like a piece of meat to be sexualized and exploited,” said Hall’s attorney Wesley Clark with Brazil Clark PLLC.
Since the story broke, Hall — the lone female officer fired and only woman on the second shift — became a target nationwide for sexual jokes and taunting.
“I received harassing and threatening messages on my phone daily. I felt like I had been terrorized,” said Hall.
And, yes — now she is suing.
No criminal charges have been filed in this case.
Hall knows there are those who will say she was a consenting adult who willingly participated in sexual antics in violation of police department policy and that now she wants to blame others, including one sergeant who targeted her early on.
“I know what most people are saying. ‘You could have said no.’ I get it. But my response to them is that I did say no, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Eventually, I gave in from the pressure,” said Hall.
“On several occasions, Hall tried to get out of this relationship, and she was not allowed to,” added her attorney, Clark.
Hall concedes she participated — under duress.
She’s not saying she was raped. But she said that the salacious details made public of sex on the job put her alone center stage and do not tell the whole story.
“They isolated me. Shunned me. They accused me, and they blamed me for becoming a victim,” Hall said.
Hall suffered from depression to the point of considering suicide, and at one point, she was hospitalized.
She felt trapped.
“My supervisors worked together to take advantage of my vulnerabilities and mental health, and they used it for their gain and their sexual pleasure,” Hall said.
And that included the police chief Chip Davis.
The independent investigation found he was aware of what was going on and even received intimate photos and videos of Hall.
“Who do you turn to when the chief of police is sexually harassing you? How can I get justice when the entire system, including the chief, not only condoned such behavior but participated in it? I was lost, and I felt alone. I had no one to turn to and nowhere to go,” said Hall.
She now realizes her career in law enforcement is likely over.
And Hall knows those ugly memes on social media will remain forever, her reputation sullied.
“No woman should ever have to endure this type of abuse. What happened to me at LaVergne Police Department should never happen to anyone,” she said.
Hall now says she just hopes to put what happened at the LaVergne PD behind her.
She remains married with an extended family who supports her.
And Hall said it’s her faith that’s helped her through the turmoil.
Hall’s federal lawsuit names two supervising sergeants, the police chief, and the city of LaVergne.
The city has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
This story was originally published March 1 by WTVF in Nashville, an E.W. Scripps Company.