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Schuylkill County News

Schuylkill County Chief Tax Assessor Working From Home After Lawsuit

Kent Hatter accused of having an inappropriate conversation during a 2021 meeting with a Jane Doe accuser.

Schuylkill County’s Chief Tax Assessor has been relegated to working from home, at least temporarily, after he was named as a defendant in a recently filed sexual harassment an retaliation lawsuit.

Commissioners Chairman Larry Padora confirmed Wednesday that Kent Hatter, the County’s Chief Tax Assessor hired in 2021, started working from home on Tuesday at the order of the Commissioners.

Padora said following Wednesday’s Board Meeting that Hatter will continue to work from home “until I have all the pertinent information.”

He’s speaking of the alleged instances which led to Hatter being sued, along with former Human Resources Director Heidi Zula, in federal court last week by a Jane Doe accuser.

That Jane Doe accuser is also 1 of 4 Jane Doe plaintiffs in the 2021 sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the County, former Commissioner George Halcovage, County Administrator Gary Bender, Zula and another former HR Director Doreen Kutzler, and former County Solicitor Glenn Roth.

In this new lawsuit, a Jane Doe accuses Hatter of engaging in what they deem an inappropriate conversation during a meeting with her and another person, identified in the lawsuit as Witness Doe 1 (who is another of the 4 Jane Doe plaintiffs in that 2021 lawsuit).

This alleged meeting happened about a month after Hatter was brought on by the then-assembled Commissioners Halcovage, Boots Hetherington, and Gary Hess. His hiring was part of a so-called restructuring of the Tax Claims and Tax Assessment offices at the Courthouse.

During this alleged meeting, Hatter is accused of saying things like:

  • Consider me like a father, giving daddy advice. I will protect you; I will keep you safe.”
  • To Witness Doe 1: “Hey, were you a cheerleader?”
  • To Jane Doe (after reportedly eyeing her “up and down”): “You were probably a cheerleader, too, huh?”
  • Regarding a purported former female co-worker of his, Hatter reportedly said to Witness Doe 1: “She was attractive like you and had Farah Fawcett hair.”
  • To Witness Doe 1: “Do you read books? Or, let me guess, you are a Glamour magazine reader, right?”

He also allegedly likened TikTok to “soft porn” in a conversation and told both Does that they “need structure and routine” in their lives.

The lawsuit also claims Hatter was aware that each of the women in that meeting were 2 of the Jane Doe plaintiffs in the lawsuit accusing Halcovage of harassment and other County officials of retaliation.

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  1. Coalregion12

    March 13, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    ” until I have all the pertinent information “. So is Larry running this investigation by himself? Do the other 2 commissioners have any input? HR and County Solicitor involved?
    Will Hatter be interviewed by any of these individuals?
    Lots of questions here.

  2. Tootsie

    March 18, 2024 at 7:58 am

    Who was assigned to perform the investigation? Why are they being so secretive? One of their buddies being allowed to work from home, remaining on the county payroll while women are “suspended” for over 2 years with no pay.

    • Canary Commenter

      March 18, 2024 at 9:35 am

      Stay tuned. That’s just half the story.

  3. Virginia

    April 2, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    The ‘penalty’ is a paid vacation. This is a deterrent?

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