VENUS — Timothy J. Leach, a former detective with the Venus Police Department whose employment was terminated in November for insubordination, has filed suit against the city.
The suit alleges the city of Venus violated the Texas Whistleblower Act by firing Leach in retaliation for going above former Chief of Police Clarence V. Johns’ head to city administrator Jerry Reed with allegations regarding the conduct of then patrol commander Sgt. Thomas Peyton.
After the Venus City Council upheld Leach’s termination during its Dec. 13 meeting, Leach began preparing a suit against the city, the former detective said during a recent interview.
Represented by Ray W. Hill of Mansfield, Leach’s suit was filed Jan. 18 in the 413th District Court in Cleburne.
Reed was served with the suit the same day by Johnson County Constable Mike White. Calling the suit “very strong,” Hill said the Texas Whistleblower Act contains requirements that must be satisfied in order to claim a violation.
“In my opinion, detective Leach’s petition satisfies all five requirements of the Texas Whistleblower Statute,” Hill said. Regarding the use of the act, the petition states that:
The plaintiff, Timothy James Leach, is a public employee, “having been employed by the City of Venus, Texas, as a Detective in their Venus Police Department;” Leach, as a public employee, “acted in good faith in making a report of (alleged) illegal conduct committed by Sgt. Peyton to Chief Clarence V. Johns and then to the City Administrator Jerry Reed;” “The report made by plaintiff Timothy James Leach involved several violations of the law by a public employee, Sgt. Thomas Peyton;” “The report was made to an appropriate law enforcement authority, Chief of Police Clarence V. Johns;” “The employee, plaintiff Timothy James Leach, suffered retaliation for making the report.”
Furthermore, the petition states that Leach “has suffered common law claims including intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting from his termination,” which “arose from the wrongful termination of plaintiff by defendant.”
Leach is seeking restitution, “exemplary damages due to malice, including ill will, spite and evil motive,” reinstatement, attorneys fees and other costs.
As of press time, Mayor Carolyn Welcher had not returned a call for comment.