Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown

Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown

John J. Watkins, The Times

CROWN POINT —The Lake County prosecutor is asking state police to conduct a criminal investigation into a sex-for-promotion scandal at the county recorder's office.

Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter said Monday he wrote to Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter requesting state police assign investigators to look into allegations raised by a former employee of County Recorder Mike B. Brown.

Estela Montalvo filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in Hammond against both Brown and Lake County government. Brown, whose office archives legal documents for county government, has been the county recorder since 2013.

Douglas Carter didn't respond to requests for comment. Brown declined to comment last week and didn't return calls for comment Monday. Roy Dominguez, who represents Montalvo in the civil suit, declined to comment Monday.

The prosecutor said he also intends to speak with U.S. Attorney Clifford Johnson about whether there is a federal probe into the matter, to ensure he isn't duplicating their efforts.

The suit states Montalvo went to work for the recorder's office in August, 2014, as a part-time clerk, but told Brown she wanted a full-time job with insurance and pension benefits.

It alleges Brown began making sexual advances to her almost immediately, and she agreed to have a sexual relationship with Brown, "only because she believed it was a condition of a promotion to full-time employment."

It alleges she was forced to resign her recorder's job last February because of the Brown's sexual harassment.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners is employing three attorneys, at taxpayer expense, to represent Brown and county government. No trial date is set in the civil suit.

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Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.