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Deputy police commissioner accused of sexual harassment

A deputy police commissioner in Philadelphia has been accused of sexual harassment, retaliation, and stalking a fellow officer. The conduct allegedly began in 2008 and has not been formally addressed by the police department despite repeated complaints.

The complaint filed in federal court details disturbing behavior including public sexual harassment and threatening behavior. The commissioner allegedly called and sent text messages to the woman repeatedly with demands of sex or companionship in exchange for favorable treatment at work. When she rejected his advances, he apparently became angry and made several threats.

The woman filed a complaint with the department's Equal Employment Opportunity Unit and to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. Reports indicate that no disciplinary action has been taken as a result of either of these complaints.

Based on the long term nature of the alleged conduct and the lack of response from the police department, it seems that they are unwilling to admit that a commissioner would behave in this way. Indeed, the man's friends in the department are already rushing to his defense and belittling the woman's claims, telling reporters that they have full confidence in the commissioner and that he has their support, adding "anybody can file a lawsuit."

We discussed in our last post how truly disappointing it is to see this type of behavior coming from government employers. Especially in the police force, where officers must rely on each other for their safety, it is disturbing to hear allegations of this type of lewd and threatening behavior.

No one should have to tolerate this type of behavior in the workplace. Sexual harassment is prohibited by both Pennsylvania and federal law.

Source: Philadelphia Daily News, "Deputy police commissioner faces sex-harassment suit," David Gambacorta, April 30, 2012.

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