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WOMAN SUES, SAYS OFFICIALS HARASSED HER

A Morgan woman is suing county officials, saying she was harassed during questioning about an anonymous letter that criticized a County Commission candidate last fall.

The letter was sent by bulk rate to every residential mailbox in the county last year the weekend before the Nov. 8 general election. The letter accused then County Commission candidate Jan Turner of assault and delusions of talking to God.She was elected, defeating incumbent Joan Patterson.

Investigators tracked the letters to an Ogden bulk-mail house where workers said a woman who did not leave a name paid cash for the bulk mailing of the fliers.

From there, County Attorney J.D. Poorman and Steve Seim, chief deputy sheriff, interviewed real estate agent Davalyn Jensen.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last week in Salt Lake City, Jensen says it was that interview that led to "psychological injury." She is suing Morgan County, Poorman, Seim and sheriff Bert Holbrook.

Jensen says her constitutional rights were violated after the encounter with Poorman and Seim a month ago, for which she said she is now undergoing psychological treatment for loss of sleep, mental anguish and loss of peace of mind.

The suit alleges that Poorman and Seim came to her office March 27 demanding to speak to her in private.

Once inside a conference room, the suit said, the two men asked that she answer questions regarding an unspecified criminal investigation, then threatened to arrest, handcuff and jail her. Jensen said they refused to let her leave and at first would not allow her to call an attorney.

Holbrook, Poorman, Seim and county commissioners referred all calls to their attorney with the Utah Local Government Trust, which provides the county with liability insurance. Trust attorney Craig Bott was unavailable for comment.

Poorman did say that the investigation into the Turner letter has returned to "back-burner" status.

"We were trying to get some leads on the Turner letter, but it's safe to say nothing came from the interview with Davalyn," Poorman said.

He would not comment on how Jensen became involved in the investigation or if she was still considered a factor in the case.

Jensen referred comment to her attorney, Mel Smith of Ogden, who said the actions by law enforcement officials were "totally unnecessary."

"They had nothing more than that she might have some information," Smith said. "That is not against the law. They don't have to storm the office and threaten to arrest her."

The suit, which seeks unnamed damages to be determined at trial, has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Thomas Greene.