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N.D. sheriff accused of intimidation, harassment

STEELE, N.D. (AP) -- Kidder County's sheriff has been charged with sexually harassing a county employee and trying to intimidate people about the upcoming sheriff's election.

Doug Howard faces four misdemeanor charges -- three counts of corrupt practices and one of disorderly conduct.

Howard did not immediately return a call left at his office Monday by The Associated Press.

Howard is running for re-election against his deputy, John Lemieux. He is accused of using threats, intimidation and economic coercion on Lemieux after the deputy filed his petition to run for Howard's job, according to affidavits from state Bureau of Criminal Investigation Agent Steve Gutknecht.

Howard allegedly told people he would fire Lemieux for running against him, required Lemieux to work on days off and extended the times he was required to patrol. The sheriff also is accused of threatening Steele Police Chief Dave Feland and a female county employee for their support of Lemieux.

Howard also is accused of sexually harassing the woman by making suggestive comments and massaging her shoulders without her permission.

Howard, who has been sheriff since July 2005, is due in court Aug 2.