CHARLESTON – The legal woes of former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury continued this week, with the filing of yet another civil lawsuit against him.
Thornsbury is named in the latest filing, along with State Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury, former State Trooper Brandon Moore, Col. Jay Smithers of the State Police, former Mingo Prosecutor Michael Sparks and the Mingo County Commission.
Former Magistrate Deloris “Dee” Sidebottom says, in a suit filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court, that Thornsbury subjected her to retribution. This action included alleged illegal schemes and efforts to remove her from office because he would not support her political slate. She also says in the complaint, filed by Williamson attorney Della Cline-Gentile and Michael Callaghan of Charleston, that she was sexually harassed by the ex-judge.
Thornsbury was recently sentenced in U.S. District Court in Charleston to a term in federal prison. He was at the center of a corruption investigation that targeted several members of the “Team Mingo” political organization. Sidebottom maintains that her opposition to Thornsbury’s efforts to thwart the legal process in the county led to his filing of untrue complaints against her. She says the former judge conspired with other officials to force her into retiring from the magistrate position to further his and others’ political interests.
In addition to his conviction on criminal charges in federal court, Thornsbury has been the subject of a number of civil complaints.
Sidebottom’s complaint says Thornsbury began to harass her sexually in 2008, inviting her to go on romantic trips with him.
Initially, Thornsbury was charged in federal court with trying to frame the husband of a mistress who worked for him. Those charges were later dropped when Thornsbury admitted to a separate federal information. He was sentenced to 50 months in prison on the charge.
In her complaint, Sidebottom alleges that the ex-judge, Sparks and Moore entered into a conspiracy to attempt to force her retirement. Moore filed an ethics complaint against her in 2008, the lawsuit says.
Other attempts were made to force her to retire as a part of the conspiracy, she maintains.
The former magistrate says she reported all incidents to West Virginia Supreme Court employees, who did nothing to help her.