ONLY ON 3: Woman suing local sheriff's office for accusing her of crime she didn't commit
UPDATE: The Bradley County Sheriff is responding to a Chattanooga woman’s lawsuit accusing the department of dragging her name through the mud and illegally obtaining her bank account information.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday.
Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson responded Wednesday saying, "I looked over everything that our investigators did and believe that they conducted every part of their investigation correctly, based on the information that was provided to them at the time."
Read more about what the woman said happened below.
A Chattanooga woman is suing the Bradley County Sheriff's Office for dragging her name through the mud and illegally accessing her bank account information.
She wants a jury to hear her case.
Justa Guthrie is a wife and mother to six children. She cleans houses for a living and also works as a Sunday school teacher at her church.
Her attorney filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the Bradley County Sheriff's Office illegally obtained her information and then posted on social media that she and her sons committed crimes they were never involved in.
It started with a routine trip through the bank drive-thru and turned into a nightmare.
"I did nothing wrong," Guthrie said.
She is trying to clear her name after the Bradley County Sheriff's Office posted surveillance photos on Facebook showing Guthrie depositing a check at Bowater Employee Credit Union in Calhoun.
The pictures show the faces of two of her kids in the car.
The post accused Guthrie of passing stolen checks and using stolen credit cards.
A church member alerted Guthrie to the post.
"I even commented, I said this is wrong. I called my bank and she called me. She called me several times and she said I'm so sorry this happened, we violated your privacy," she said.
According to Guthrie's attorney, the post was deleted three hours after it was posted.
But Guthrie said the damage was already done.
"You have these people out here thinking that you're a thief," she said. "My two sons had people at their work questioning them about it and they eventually had to switch jobs."
Guthrie's attorney, Scott Maucere, believes the sheriff's office used a subpoena to get his client's name from the bank.
"When you issue a subpoena, that's an official request to receive information from the bank, and the bank has a legal duty to comply with it, if the subpena is legally issued," he said.
Maucere said the bank failed to protect Guthrie's information, violating Tennessee's Financial Records Privacy Act.
"There are several things on its face that the bank, that Bowater should have said no, we're not going to comply with this, we need more information. We need to protect our customer," he added.
"That wasn't even the amount that I cashed that day. It wasn't the check number, it wasn't the amount. It wasn't nothing," Guthrie said.
The sheriff's office hasn't responded to Guthrie's complain which she filed three months ago.
As for the bank, Guthrie said, "They offered me a blanket, which I didn't bring. But they gave me a blanket for their apologies."
Officials with Bowater Employee Credit Union did not want to comment, citing privacy laws.
The Bradley County Sheriff also declined to comment, citing possible litigation.