TIPPAH COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Is it 'he said, she said' or a case of a city employee behaving badly?
A Tippah County mother and her two daughters have filed charges against a former Ripley, Mississippi animal control officer. They say when they called to have a dog picked up, he tried picking them up.
Lynwood Cook resigned shortly after these allegations and charges were filed. Multiple attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful, but the women who say he did this gave an earful.
"From my standpoint, here I am only 24 years old, just lost my dad and here comes this man old enough to be my grandfather talking to me the way he did," says Velera Johnson. "It made me feel like I was as small as an ant."
Johnson and her mother Nina say they had no idea what they were in for when they reported a stray dog at the beginning of May.
"He was supposed to be coming to get a dog," Nina says.
"For help," Velera adds. "But he came not to help."
In an affidavit, the two claim when Cook showed up, he started making obscene comments.
"About the way I looked and everything. The whole nine yards, touching, hugging, coming by unannounced."
"The first time he was in the city vehicle," Nina tells abc24.com. "Later he came in his own vehicle. That was just unexpected because he'd already picked up the dog."
According to the women, Cook came to their house twice more that week, offering to pay for their time.
"He went a little further with each one," Velera says.
The family filed charges against Cook, who was booked for soliciting for the purpose of prostitution and bonded out of Tippah County's jail.
"This is the first time I've ever had a prostitution charge in my court," says Prosecuting Attorney Bart Adams. "It will be up to a judge to decide how to proceed.
If the case goes to trial and Cook is convicted, "he can get up to a $200 fine. He can get up to 6 months in jail or he can get both." That's for each of the three charges against him.
"For someone to work for the city, you should have your mind on the city," Nina says.
The case goes to court July 18th.