Cobb woman sues county police officer over forwarded emails

5:37 p.m Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 Local
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register speaks to members of the press during a press conference at Emergency Operations Center in Marietta on Thursday, August 31, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

A Cobb woman is suing a senior officer with the county police department over emails related to a complaint she filed that he forwarded to two private citizens, including his girlfriend. 

Katherine Scott asked the department to investigate what she said were online harassment and threats made over Twitter beginning in 2015.

Among Scott’s alleged tormentors was Valley Falls, Kansas, Mayor Charles Stutesman, whose controversial Twitter habits have been documented by the local press in his home state

Cobb police followed up on Scott’s case and determined it did not warrant a criminal investigation.

When Scott continued to press for action, she became a subject of ridicule inside the department, internal emails show. 

On Feb. 11, 2016, Maj. Dale Bolenbough, who heads the crimes against persons unit, forwarded one of Scott’s emails objecting to the police department’s handling of her case to a woman outside the department, writing: “What I have to deal with everyday.”

At a contested hearing on Oct. 18, Bolenbaugh confirmed to Judge Jennifer Inmon that the woman was his girlfriend. He forwarded another email concerning Scott to a different address.

In another exchange, Sgt. Craig Dong of the Cobb County Police Department wrote to Bolenbaugh after Scott complained about the officers on Twitter. 

“Congratulations Major Bolenbaugh! I see we both made the cut with Kathy Scott,” Dong wrote.

Judge Inmon denied Bolenbaugh’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds that he was acting in his official capacity when he forwarded the emails, unprompted, to his girlfriend and another person, and was therefore covered by qualified and sovereign immunity. 

An internal police investigation of the incident found Maj. Bolenbaugh was not acting in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer, county spokesman Ross Cavitt said. 

He said Police Chief Mike Register, who joined the department in June, was aware of the case and awaiting the court’s decision.

Scott is seeking $15,000 in damages. A date for the next hearing has not been set. 

Scott has filed a separate but related suit against Cobb Public Safety Director Sam Heaton.

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