Woman to get $275,000 in case alleging harassment by officer

WOODLAND, Wash. (AP) — A woman who says she was harassed and intimidated by a police officer in the southwest Washington city of Woodland has settled a lawsuit against him for $275,000.

The Daily News in Longview reports that the city’s insurance will cover the payout in the federal lawsuit filed two years ago by Jody Wattier.

Wattier alleged that as she was divorcing her husband, one of his friends — now-retired Woodland officer Brad Gillaspie — abused his authority to stalk her, threaten her and initiate an investigation against her with a goal of giving her ex an advantage in child custody hearings. U.S. District Judge Ron Leighton declined to dismiss the claims, saying Gillaspie “egregiously influenced” the divorce proceedings and that a reasonable jury could find he acted with malice.

The newspaper said Gillaspie did not respond to a request for comment.

Wattier called the settlement a painful victory. She said she lost custody of the two children and that “the money is not going to make it any better.”

She is now remarried and lives in Tacoma.