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Prosecutor Nick Hermann reaches settlement in sexual harassment lawsuit, lawyers say

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:43 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - According to officials with Danks & Danks, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann reached a settlement with the woman who claims he sexually harassed her.

[Previous: Lawsuit claims sexual harassment by Prosecutor Nick Hermann]

About two years ago, Samantha Merideth filed a complaint against Hermann for sexual harassment, sexual battery, hostility in the workplace and wrongful termination.

The law firm representing Merideth says Hermann admitted to being with her alone in his hotel room one night, drinking, making comments on her appearance, putting her in handcuffs and showing her his gun.

On July 12, officials say, Hermann, the state of Indiana, and Vanderburgh County collectively agreed to settle with Samantha Merideth for $75,000.

Lawyers say although Hermann agreed to settle, he won’t actually be the one paying her.

Attorney Brandon Danks says Hermann was sued as an individual, and he was sued as the elected prosecutor.

He says the elected position itself can be sued, which is handled by the state of Indiana. The state will pay $30,000 of that $75,000 settlement.

Vanderburgh County is set to pay the remaining $45,000 because Merideth was a county employee when the alleged incident happened.

As for why Hermann isn’t paying anything out of his own pocket, attorney Brandon Danks says those are just the terms all parties agreed to.

“Unfortunately, yeah, (Hermann) doesn’t have to pay any of that, and that is taxpayer money, so you’re paying for it, I’m paying for it, we’re all paying for it,” Danks said. “But that’s just the way some of these claims go when you’re dealing with government entities.”

Danks says Merideth’s reaction was relief that this can come to a close.

”$75,000 thousand - that’s a large amount - but it’s by no means an amount that can make all of this go away for Samantha,” Danks said. “She’ll live with it for the rest of her life. However, given all of that, this provides closure, it’s over. She gets to move on with her life and I do believe she is satisfied with the settlement.”

According to Danks & Danks, the law firm expects Gov. Eric Holcomb to approve the remaining settlement by August 26.

Vanderburgh County officials say they settled to avoid the costs of defense.

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