Gilchrist is suing the city of Oklahoma City, City Manager James
D. Couch, Police Chief M.T. Berry and eight other people in the
police department for more than $20 million and her job back as the
police department's forensic laboratory supervisor.
Problems with Gilchrist's work became known nationwide when Jeff
Pierce was released from prison last year after a DNA test on semen
and re-examination of hair from the crime scene proved he had been
wrongfully convicted 15 years ago.
Gilchrist linked Pierce to the sexual attack with her
microscopic hair analysis and testimony at trial.
Pierce, released from prison May 7, filed a multimillion-dollar
lawsuit April 18, naming Gilchrist as one of the defendants.
In her lawsuit, Gilchrist said she received 17 "fully-competent"
or "commendable" evaluations during her 21-year career at the
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, describes the awards and praise
she received for high-profile cases in which she analyzed the
evidence and testified.
Some of those cases came back to haunt her when appellate judges
criticized her work, ordering new trials or overturning
convictions. The criticism dates back to 1988 when Gilchrist was
accused of giving "personal opinions beyond the scope of scientific
Despite the criticism by appellate judges, Gilchrist continued
to receive top evaluation marks from police supervisors, awards and
letters of praise, the lawsuit states.
Gilchrist said she became the victim of retaliation after she
complained in 1998 that a woman teaching a class at the police
department told Gilchrist she was the victim of unwanted touching
and caressing by Maj. Garold Spencer, then the director of the
serology laboratory and Gilchrist's supervisor, the lawsuit states.
Her complaint resulted in an internal investigation in which
Spencer did not receive disciplinary action, the 41-page lawsuit
Spencer blamed Gilchrist for costing him the assistant police
chief promotion, she maintained in the lawsuit.
Spencer refused comment Thursday about the lawsuit.
Gilchrist said Deputy Chief Robert A. Jones, Capt. Byron "Bo"
Boshell, Berry and Spencer conspired to demote and terminate her
after she reported the sexual misconduct complaint, according to
She wasn't fired until Sept. 25 after a pre-termination review
board recommended her termination.
Assistant Police Chief Bill Citty, chairman of the review board,
and four board members - Maj. Johnny Kuhlman, Maj. Ken McDonald,
chemist supervisor Richard Dawes and chemist Matthew Scott - are
being sued individually and in their official capacity.
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