A Johnston County police chief and a female officer on his force have filed a lawsuit against a candidate for town mayor.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Johnston County District Court in Smithfield by Kenly Police Chief Josh Gibson and Officer Rayne Biggs against Terry Ray Baker, a candidate for Kenly mayor.
The lawsuit contends Officer Biggs, the only female on the Kenly police department, began receiving unwanted and inappropriate Facebook messages from Baker in November 2016. The messages repeatedly asked Biggs to accept a dinner date invitation and to enter into a romantic relationship. Officer Biggs did not responded to the messages.
Baker allegedly continued to send the female officer additional messages asking her to call.
On July 7, 2017, Baker filed as a candidate for Town of Kenly mayor. Afterwards he began issuing press releases which he posted on his Terry Baker for Kenly Mayor Facebook page.
On August 14, 2017, Baker posted a statement on the Facebook page alleging Chief Gibson was dishonest and despite being married was having a sexual relationship with the female officer.
The statement reads in part: “I am pro law enforcement and support honest, law abiding officers, not ones that lie to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and to the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office. I also do not support officers lieing (sic) to town officials as well as married police supervisors having sexual relationships with police subordinates.”
The press release directly claimed Chief Gibson made false statements and questioned his professional reputation, according to the lawsuit. The post also directly suggested Chief Gibson and Officer Biggs had engaged in sexual relationship since Chief Gibson is Officer Biggs supervisor and is the only female on the Kenly Police Department, according to the suit.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Baker says he was unaware of any lawsuit being filed against him saying he had not been served with court papers. However he did say, “I don’t have a comment at this time. A lot is going on with the Town of Kenly. I am repeating what people are saying. It is coming from my informants.”
When asked specifically if the allegations of lying and sexual improprieties came from his “informants” Baker declined to say.
The lawsuit seeks in excess of $10,000 in damages plus attorney fees. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney Leslie Jones of Garner.
Political Sign Complaints
On September 17th, Baker sent a three page press released to local media outlets claiming he had several political signs stolen or damaged in the Town of Kenly and had filed complaints with the Kenly Police Department. Baker also claimed he caught an individual stealing two signs in front of the Kenly Chamber of Commerce Community Information Sign at the intersection of Highway 222 and Highway 301.
The landowner did not want political signs on the property but Baker claimed his signs were in the DOT right of way and he didn’t need permission to place his signs at the intersection.
In the press release Baker claimed the problems were caused by supporters of his opponent, Bonnie Williamson, who is the current mayor and is seeking election in November.
“I have been the victim of and subject to false accusations, slander and libel as well as had political campaign signs stolen and damaged since I have filed and announced my candidacy for Kenly Mayor. I am trying to run a clean campaign; however, I have raised valued (sic) issues and concerns with the current state of Kenly Town Government, which appears to be upsetting the politics as usual and status quo in the Town of Kenly,” Baker wrote in the Sept. 17th press release.