Misconduct lawsuit against Douglas County sheriff advances

December 31, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge in Nebraska cited 15 sexual misconduct cases involving deputies or other employees in refusing to dismiss a woman’s lawsuit against the Douglas County sheriff and his office over how they handled her misconduct complaint.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said the cases date back 20 years and raise concerns that Sheriff Tim Dunning and his office failed “to train or supervise its employees on sexual misconduct, The Omaha World Herald reported .

“The court agrees with the plaintiff that there is sufficient evidence as a matter of law that would enable a jury to find deliberate indifference on the part of Sheriff Dunning,” Bataillon said.

Douglas County attorneys have appealed Bataillon’s decision.

The woman alleged Dunning was indifferent to sexual misconduct in his office after Deputy Cory Cooper in February 2013 made her perform a sex act on him when she was 19.

The woman reported the incident to police a few days later but the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately begin its investigation, which allowed Cooper to continue acting inappropriately, said Debra Loevy, the woman’s attorney. Cooper wasn’t fired until May 2013 following another report of his behavior, Loevy said.

Dunning told the newspaper he wasn’t indifferent toward misconduct, noting that suspensions or terminations occurred when a case was corroborated. He said all county employees are trained on sexual harassment.

Dunning added that Cooper wasn’t involved in any previous cases, so there was no indication that he could be an issue.

“Cooper did what he did because he’s a sex offender and a criminal,” Dunning said. “Before we hired him, he had a psychological screen. He was polygraphed. As far as we could tell, he was going to be a sterling employee.”

Cooper was sentenced to misdemeanor assault in 2015 and served six months in jail. As part of a plea bargain, Cooper didn’t have to register as a sex offender and isn’t a convicted felon.

December 31, 2018, Associated Press, “Misconduct lawsuit against Douglas County sheriff advances”, https://www.apnews.com/fb43adce5838486ca72ec33e1539f286

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Pullman Police sergeant pleads not guilty to custodial sexual misconduct

Pullman Police Sgt. Jerry Daniel Hargraves, 49, was arrested and charged with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Warning: This story contains graphic sexual content.

A Pullman Police sergeant accused of custodial sexual misconduct pleaded not guilty in court on Friday.

Sgt. Jerry Daniel Hargraves, 49, was arrested and charged with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Authorities said his arrest was the result of an investigation that began in April when a female Washington State University student reported she was sexually assaulted.

Hargraves’ trial is expected to start Jan. 14, 2019.

Hargraves has been on paid administrative leave or desk duty since the initial report.

According to the Washington State Legislature, a person is guilty of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct when the person has sexual intercourse with another person when:

1) The victim is a resident of a state, county, or city adult or juvenile correctional facility, including but not limited to jails, prisons, detention centers, or work release facilities, or is under correctional supervision; and

2) The perpetrator is an employee or contract personnel of a correctional agency and the perpetrator has, or the victim reasonably believes the perpetrator has, the ability to influence the terms, conditions, length, or fact of incarceration or correctional supervision; or

3) When the victim is being detained, under arrest[,] or in the custody of a law enforcement officer and the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer.

Consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this section and custodial sexual misconduct is a first degree class C felony, according to the state legislature.

These allegations are related to a previous KREM report from April. Washington State Patrol began investigating allegations that a Pullman Police officer and Washington State University officer sexual assaulted a student while she was intoxicated in March.

Court documents said the student was contacted three different times about underage drinking on March 30. Investigating documents stated that the victim was “staggering and appeared intoxicated.”

PREVIOUS: Pullman Police sergeant’s DNA found on victim’s clothing: Docs

Hargraves and another officer both contacted the victim and told her to stay in her dorm room for the rest of the night, according to investigating documents.

The second time Hargraves contacted the victim he told her, “You disobeyed me. I told you to not leave your dorm before. Now, I have to take you to the station because you didn’t obey my orders,” according to investigative documents.

Documents said the victim told Hargraves, “I’ll do anything to not get arrested.” He replied with, “What are you willing to do?,” according to court documents.

According to court documents, the victim told investigators that Hargraves later “instructed her to get out (of the car) and get down on her knees” and she “remembered hearing him undo his pants.”

She said she had a “vague recollection of performing oral sex on Hargraves” and she later wiped her face with her sleeve when they were done, court documents said.

On April 5, the victim called the Office for Equal Opportunities to report the incident, according to court documents.

Internal documents from the Pullman Police Department show Hargraves was also given supervisory counseling for a sexual harassment claim made by a coworker in 2016.

PREVIOUS: Arrested Pullman police sergeant also accused of sexual harassment

In May 2016, supervisors started investigating sexual harassment allegations made against Hargraves after another police officer reported them to a sergeant. The sergeant then asked the woman involved to speak to him, documents stated. The woman worked as a records employee at the department.

According to a Pullman Police Department internal investigation, in the late summer or fall of 2015, a department employee said she received text messages from Hargraves while she was working in her records position. The woman summarized the texts as, “Hargraves wanted to have sex with her and when she refused, he asked her not to tell a PPD employee.” She said she could not remember the exact dates of when this happened, but she saved the text on her home computer, documents stated.

November 9, 2018, KREM.com, “Pullman Police sergeant pleads not guilty to custodial sexual misconduct”, https://www.krem.com/article/news/crime/pullman-police-sergeant-pleads-not-guilty-to-custodial-sexual-misconduct/293-613060393

In police sexual misconduct case, Michigan woman sues officer she accused of assault


Former Covert Township, Mich., police Officer Erich M. Fritz shortly after his arrest in 2016 for kidnapping and sexual assault. A law enforcement official is arrested about once every five days in the U.S. for sex-related charges. (Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office)

July 13, 2018

Melissa McMillan was catching a ride home after a night out drinking when her driver was pulled over by the police and accused of drunken driving. Rather than arranging a ride home for the passenger, the arresting officer took the very intoxicated McMillan to a hotel. She said that when she woke up, the officer was having sex with her.

In Covert Township, Mich., it was Officer Erich M. Fritz’s third, and final, job as a police officer. He was arrested in July 2016 and charged with kidnapping and two counts of criminal sexual assault. Fritz claimed the sex was consensual. He eventually pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment for the purpose of committing sexual assault. His sentence: one year in the county jail and five years of probation. Fritz served nine months and was released. “Unlawful imprisonment” is technically not a sex offense, and Fritz was not required to register as a sex offender.

Now, McMillan is suing Fritz, 43, and the small town that hired him, accusing him of abusing his police authority, as well as false imprisonment and emotional distress. Her attorneys say sexual misconduct is among the most common allegations against police — and a problem some experts say is likely underreported.

Researchers tracking “police crime” in one study found 771 sex-related cases during one four-year period, involving 555 sworn officers. An investigation by the Buffalo News in 2015 found that in a 10-year period, “a law enforcement official was caught in a case of sexual abuse or misconduct at least every five days. Nearly all were men. Nearly all victims were women, and a surprising number were adolescents.”

’My life was forever changed’: Victim of sexual assault by officer speaks out

Melissa McMillan released a statement following a 2016 incident where she said she was raped by a Covert Township police officer in Michigan.

McMillan, 40, said she is going public with her lawsuit, and her name, to call attention to the largely unrecognized problem and the fact “it can happen to anybody.”

“I’m a nurse,” McMillan said. “I’m a mom. I didn’t do anything wrong. If it can happen by a police officer, who can you trust?” Though news media typically withhold the names of alleged victims, McMillan told The Washington Post that she was not seeking anonymity because “there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to hide. For a long time I felt ashamed. It shouldn’t be that way.”

Fritz did not return a phone call seeking comment. His lawyer, Scott Grabel, said, “She’s got a story and Erich has a different story about what transpired. … It’s Mr. Fritz’s contention she was awake and voluntary as they were having sex. My position is I think it’s going to be a difficult case for the plaintiff.”

The top three elected officials in Covert Township, a town of about 3,000 on the shore of Lake Michigan, did not return messages seeking comment. The town hired Fritz two months before he was arrested, and when Van Buren County prosecutor Michael Bedford looked into Fritz’s past, he found Fritz had been bounced from two other small police departments for misconduct.

Fritz resigned shortly after his arrest, perhaps hoping to maintain his law enforcement certification before his department could impose its own discipline and take another step in the “officer shuffle” of officers who move from one department to another. Bedford called Fritz “a disgrace to the law enforcement community,” and said that “one of my goals was to get him convicted of a serious felony so he could never be a police officer again.”


Fritz snapped this selfie in the hotel room, according to the phone’s metadata, where he allegedly assaulted the woman. (Michigan State Police)

While working for a small department in North Dakota, Fritz posted photos of himself on an adult website in various states of undress, with his uniform visible in some of them, Bedford said. At another department in Michigan, Fritz was released for violating various policies, Bedford said.

McMillan was outraged to learn of Fritz’s past. “I think there was a failure in the hiring process, obviously,” she said. “Maybe if they had properly vetted him, this would not have happened.”

Most of the events of July 9, 2016, are not in dispute. McMillan admits to being very drunk after leaving Captain Lou’s, a bar in South Haven, Mich., and letting a male friend drive her car. But about 2:30 a.m., Fritz pulled the car over and soon placed the driver under arrest.

Fritz’s in-car video shows him removing McMillan from the car, and that she needed help getting to Fritz’s patrol car. Bedford said that a tow-truck driver told Fritz he’d give McMillan a ride home, while he was removing her car from the highway, but Fritz declined that offer. Instead, Fritz placed McMillan in the back seat with her driver, and switched off the in-car audio and video, McMillan’s lawsuit claims.

Fritz radioed to police dispatchers that he was taking his intoxicated passenger to a hotel, and this apparently did not trouble anyone working either in the Van Buren County dispatch center or on duty that morning because no one objected, McMillan’s lawyers said. “Nobody asked a question as to why or what he was intending on doing,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci.

Fritz drove McMillan to one hotel before booking his drunk driver but it was full, so he dropped her at a second hotel and told her to check in, but he had taken her wallet and phone, Bedford said. The hotel requested that Fritz return, which he did after processing his prisoner. Then Fritz took McMillan to a third hotel where he was keeping a room of his own because his home was elsewhere in Michigan and he and his wife hadn’t moved to Covert yet, Bedford said.

McMillan claims that she took a shower, vomited and passed out. When she awoke, she says that Fritz was having sex with her. She later texted friends saying she was scared and didn’t know where she was, and when she left the hotel she went to a hospital and had a rape examination, according to the lawsuit. The Michigan State Police soon began an investigation. Her lawsuit alleges that McMillan “continues to suffer from acute anxiety and depression as a result of her sexual assaults.”

Grabel said that McMillan was conscious when Fritz returned to the hotel, and that Fritz asked her if she had found a ride home. “Then she made advances on him,” Grabel said. “It was clearly consensual.” Grabel noted that Fritz’s shift had ended by the time of the sexual encounter, so he was off-duty, and said that Fritz passed two lie-detector tests. In Michigan, the standard for whether a person is unable to consent is not if they are intoxicated but whether they are unconscious, asleep or unable to communicate, Grabel said.


Erich Fritz was sentenced to one year in the county jail and five years probation in circuit court in Michigan. He went on to serve nine months. (Mark Bugnaski/MLive.com)

“I’m not here telling you it’s acceptable or appropriate, what he did,” Grabel said. He said Fritz resigned because “you’re not supposed to give people lifts to motels when you’re working. You don’t position yourself to be accused of that. But was there a sexual assault? My opinion, clearly not.”

At his sentencing in July 2017, Fritz apologized to his friends, family, co-workers and then to McMillan, but only for taking her to a hotel. “I never should have offered her a hotel room in the first place,” Fritz said, according to video of the hearing. “It never should have happened. I never should have put her in that situation.”

Bedford, the prosecutor, said he offered a plea deal because he wasn’t sure how a jury would respond to a police officer saying the sex was consensual, and that after the initial encounter there was further consensual sex. McMillan said she reluctantly agreed to the deal and that her memory of the night was blurry. Nicolette Ward, one of her lawyers, said McMillan subsequently had sex with Fritz because she felt trapped and had no choice.

Philip Matthew Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University, was a co-author of the 2015 study that found 771 sex-related charges filed against police in a four-year period. “The facts of the Erich Fritz case are troubling,” Stinson said. “My research has found that there are some, hopefully very few, police officers who are sexual predators.”

It should be noted that the rate of sexual assault occurring in the nation’s sworn police population, which was estimated at roughly 750,000 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2016, is far lower than the rate of sexual assault in the general population. But only officers and deputies have the powers of arrest as a possible tool of coercion.

But Stinson and others said the problem is likely underreported. “Most of the victims are terrified of reporting the assaults — who do you call when your assailant is a police officer?” Stinson said. “Also, as seen in Fritz’s case, it is typical to select a victim who was vulnerable, impaired, unable to defend herself, and one who the officer thought would not be believed if she came forward.”

Author Andrea J. Ritchie, who wrote the book, “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color,” wrote in The Post earlier this year that police sexual misconduct is “a systemic problem” and that “accountability is rare.” She cited one study that found that 41 percent of officers charged with sexual violence had previous sexual misconduct charges but had been allowed to remain on the job.

She said some departments are taking steps to deter such misconduct. “Many departments already require officers to report mileage when they transport arrestees,” Ritchie wrote, ““in part to prevent detours to secluded areas to force or extort sex.”

Ward, McMillan’s lawyer, noted that sexual misconduct was the second most reported offense by police officers, after use of force. “We have to assume the numbers are broader than what’s reported,” Ward said. “Women are afraid to come forward, or fear they won’t be believed.” She said McMillan was believed because Fritz’s in-car camera showed the officer taking custody of the clearly drunk woman.

How some cops use the badge to commit sex crimes

Sexual misconduct persists during traffic stops, ridealongs and mentorship programs


(iStock/iStock)

She was driving in a park with two male friends when a pair of plainclothes New York City police detectives drove up in an unmarked van. The officers, from the Brooklyn South precinct, stopped the trio for being in a public park after dark. The officers searched the car and found marijuana and the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin. They arrested her, put her in the back of the van in handcuffs and ordered her friends not to follow.

According to prosecutors, the detectives proceeded to force the 18-year-old woman to perform oral sex on one of them, who then raped her. The other officer then allegedly forced her into oral sex, as well. The 50-count indictment also alleges that the officers, who are facing charges of rape, kidnapping and official misconduct, threatened her with criminal charges if she didn’t cooperate. The defendants have since quit the force, though their attorneys have sought to undermine the young woman’s account.

This story broke in October to shock and outrage. While I share the outrage, as someone who has studied police sexual violence for more than a decade — and as a survivor — this young woman’s experience didn’t surprise me. In fact, it is representative of national patterns of sexual violence by officers during traffic stops and handling of minor offenses, drug arrests and police interactions with teenagers.

Research on “police sexual misconduct” — a term used to describe actions from sexual harassment and extortion to forcible rape by officers — overwhelmingly concludes that it is a systemic problem. A 2015 investigation by the Buffalo News, based on a national review of media reports and court records over a 10-year period, concluded that an officer is accused of an act of sexual misconduct at least every five days. The vast majority of incidents, the report found, involve motorists, young people in job-shadowing programs, students, victims of violence and informants. In more than 60 percent of the cases reviewed, an officer was convicted of a crime or faced other consequences.

Former police officer turned professor Phil Stinson conducted a national analysis of more than 500 officer arrests for sexual misconduct over a three-year period. He found that half involved on-duty misconduct and noted that off-duty misconduct is often facilitated by the power of the badge or the presence of an official service weapon. A fifth of arrests involved forcible rape, another fifth forcible fondling.

In a second study, funded by the National Institute of Justice and analyzing more than 6,700 officer arrests nationwide during a seven-year period, Stinson found that half of arrests for sexual misconduct were for incidents involving minors. According to a 2010 Cato Institute review, sexual misconduct is the second-most-frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.

“Over the years I would see it all,” former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper wrote in his book, “Breaking Rank.” He described cases in which cops fondled prisoners, made false traffic stops of attractive women, traded sexual favors for freedom, had sex with teenagers and raped children. “Sexual predation by police officers happens far more often than people in the business are willing to admit.”

Research consistently shows that police officers target young women like the Brooklyn teenager. A 2000 survey of nearly 1,000 New York City youth found that 2 in 5 young women — almost half of whom were black, Latina or Asian — reported sexual harassment by officers. A 2003 national study of cases reported in the media over more than a decade, conducted by the Police Professionalism Initiative at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, found that 40 percent of reported cases of police sexual misconduct involved teens, often young women involved in youth engagement and job-shadowing programs. One young woman, Diana Guerrero, filed a lawsuit against the city of Las Cruces, N.M., after she was assaulted during a “ride along” with an officer in 2011. The officer said in a taped confession: “The badge gets you the p—y and the p—y gets your badge, you know?”

Officers also prey on domestic-violence survivors, who are particularly vulnerable to abuses by people they call on for protection. One officer quoted in an investigative report by the Philadelphia Inquirer said, “I would see women that were vulnerable where I could appear as a knight in shining armor.” He explained, “I’m going to help this woman who’s being abused by her boyfriend, and then I’ll ask for sexual favors.” Another bragged that getting dates with such victims was like “shooting fish in a barrel.

Police also target women they don’t think would be believed if they came forward, including women of color, transgender women, women who use drugs or alcohol, and women involved in the sex trade. The 2016 Justice Department investigation of the Baltimore Police Department found that officers extorted sex from women under the threat of prostitution charges. Two Los Angeles Police Department officers are currently on trial for extorting sex from women facing drug charges. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who is serving a 263-year sentence after being accused of sexual assault by 13 black women and girls, targeted young women, women who used drugs and women he believed to be “working girls.”

These cases are unique only in that the officers faced consequences for their actions. Accountability is rare. One study found that in 41 percent of cases, officers charged with sexual violence had been previously accused of sexual misconduct — between two and 21 prior allegations — but had remained on the force. Even when officers are terminated or allowed to resign, many are able to simply move on to another department, in what researchers dub the “officer shuffle.”

Why aren’t departments doing more to stop sexual violence by officers? Despite materials such as “Addressing Sexual Offenses and Misconduct by Law Enforcement,” a guide published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 2011, most police departments have no policies or training making it clear that on-duty sexual misconduct against civilians is prohibited. The Obama-era President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the Justice Department’s guidance on gender bias in policing, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and various researchers have all taken the position that departments need to, at a minimum, enact and enforce policies prohibiting sexual violence by officers. When asked why more departments haven’t taken up the charge, an IACP spokesman simply said, “We don’t see a groundswell from people who are protesting their police departments for this kind of activity.”

While that needs to change, departments shouldn’t have to be asked twice to explicitly tell officers that sexually harassing and assaulting members of the public is unacceptable and will result in termination.

We should also know by now that we can’t depend on the police to police themselves. Yet there is often nowhere that a woman who has been sexually assaulted by an officer can go to report it — except the police. If she goes to the district attorney or a civilian oversight agency, the case is usually referred to a police department for investigation. Intimidation is common. The Brooklyn teenager said at least nine police officers came to her hospital room, discouraging her from going through with a rape kit. In a Chicago case, Tiawanda Moore was prosecuted for recording investigating officers as they tried to discourage her from filing a sexual misconduct complaint. (She was acquitted after a year-long trial.) In Eugene, Ore., an officer who was later convicted of sexually abusing a dozen women put his service weapon to one victim’s genitals and threatened to blow her up “from the inside out” if she told anyone.

Municipalities could make it easier for victims to come forward by enabling civilian oversight agencies to investigate complaints of sexual violence by police. Indeed, the Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department recommended that civilian investigators be empowered and trained to receive such complaints. City legislators and advocates tried to transfer jurisdiction over sexual misconduct complaints to the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability — only to be stymied by the police union.

But we shouldn’t just rely on victims of police sexual assault to come forward. A range of measures, from small steps to structural changes, can be taken to prevent and detect police sexual violence. Departments can monitor data from individual officers’ traffic or pedestrian stops to determine whether they are stopping a disproportionate number of women. They can use GPS to track patrol car movements, a strategy that corroborated the testimony of Holtzclaw’s victims. Supervisors can show up unexpectedly to check on officers on late-night patrol. Many departments already require officers to report mileage when they transport arrestees, in part to prevent detours to secluded areas to force or extort sex. Investigators can also conduct stings to catch officers in the act, something the New York and Los Angeles departments have done successfully on occasion but not nearly often enough.

Research and investigations conclude that police sexual assault is facilitated by the structure of policing itself. As Stinson put it: “Police routinely operate alone and largely free from any direct supervision, either from administrators or fellow officers. Police commonly encounter citizens who are vulnerable, usually because they are victims, criminal suspects, or perceived as ‘suspicious’ and subject to the power and coercive authority granted to police. Police-citizen interactions often occur in the late-night hours that provide low public visibility and ample opportunities to those officers who are able and willing to take advantage of citizens to commit acts of sexual deviance and to perpetrate sex crimes.” Police officers wield significant power and discretion, and are protected by a blue wall of silence when they abuse them.

In light of these realities, the goal should be to reduce the number of police encounters and the power officers use to extort or force sex. That would mean not flooding communities with officers, and not giving those officers the ability to hold mandatory-minimum drug sentences over women’s heads, contrary to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s current priorities. It would mean taking a public health approach to drug and prostitution offenses, and taking police officers — who use the serious consequences of such charges to extort sex and rape women — out of the equation, either by decriminalizing those offenses or eliminating arrests through pre-arrest diversion programs.

Survivors of sexual assault by police deserve solutions that strike at the root of the problem, instead of mere outrage at each crime that happens to make the news. No survivor of sexual violence should be ignored simply because her perpetrator was a police officer.

Andrea J. Ritchie, January 12, 2018, Washington Post, “How some cops use the badge to commit sex crimes”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/how-some-cops-use-the-badge-to-commit-sex-crimes/2018/01/11/5606fb26-eff3-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.3cebd12c2c69

Pa. state police paid $8 million to settle claims against troopers

by Paula Knudsen and Brad Bumsted, LNP Media Group, Posted: December 24, 2017

 

HARRISBURG — The state has paid nearly $8 million to settle more than a dozen sexual harassment and misconduct lawsuits against Pennsylvania State Police troopers since 2001, records obtained by the Caucus weekly newspaper show.

And at least four more pending cases could result in additional taxpayer-funded payouts, including a rape allegation against an unnamed trooper.

The allegations that resulted in settlements ranged from physical assault and battery to sexual discrimination and retaliation at the hands of troopers and, more broadly, state police employees being forced to work in a hostile work environment.

The plaintiffs in those settlements include female state police employees across many ranks, including a clerk, troopers, a sergeant, vice corporal and lieutenant colonel. The state police did not admit to wrongdoing in any of the cases. The terms of the agreements prevent both the state police and the accusers from speaking publicly about their cases.

As more women step forward about being victims of sexual harassment at the hands of powerful figures in Congress and  legislatures across the United States, the settlements bring renewed attention to an agency that has received almost no scrutiny in the ongoing national #MeToo conversation. The state police, whose workforce is 95 percent male, was the subject of a 2003 Office of Inspector General investigation of sexual harassment by troopers.

The Caucus used federal, state and county court records, some obtained under the state’s Right-to-Know law, to identify settlement payouts by the state police in cases where sexual harassment and misconduct were alleged.

In all, the records show, the agency has settled at least 18 sexual harassment and discrimination cases since 2001. Most payments ranged from $5,000 to $435,000. But the agency also paid $6.3 million between 2001 and 2004 to settle claims against a single trooper, Michael K. Evans, who in a widely publicized case was convicted in Montgomery County of numerous sex crimes. Evans, of Mertzville, Berks County, served about eight years in prison.

The nearly $8 million does not include a Philadelphia federal jury’s $250,000 verdict against the state police this month for not taking prompt and appropriate action to stop or prevent the sexual harassment levied against a female trooper.

State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski, responding to inquiries about the settlements, issued a statement that read: “We are confident that our members and civilian employees receive the proper training in how to prevent, identify and report misconduct. Every allegation is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“When warranted, prompt and appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action is taken against the trooper or civilian employee involved,” said Tarkowski. “Although specific actions against individual employees are confidential personnel matters, they may range from three-day suspension to termination. In some cases, a terminated trooper has to be reinstated due to the decision of an arbitrator.”

He also said the settlement agreements “are not entered into lightly.”

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who has described as “outrageous” the use of taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims against elected officials, said he is preparing to meet with his staff “to develop a broader strategy on how we can review sexual harassment policies and any settlements across state agencies.”

Still, the volume and severity of the allegations against troopers in recent years raises serious questions about the work atmosphere inside the agency.

“If you keep hiring the same type of men — the alpha male — what comes with that type of personality is this misconduct,” said Bucks County employment lawyer Brian Puricelli, who represented the corporal who won her case in Philadelphia this month.

Pittsburgh employment lawyer Susan Mahood, who has represented clients in employment discrimination against the state police for nearly two decades and has two pending cases against the agency, said things haven’t changed much for women.

“I cannot say in 20 years I have seen significant progress,” Mahood said.

Philadelphia attorney Mary McDaniel, 56, a former state trooper, said she was sexually harassed “from day one” after beginning work for the agency in Lancaster in the 1980s. She did not reveal the harassment until the #MeToo movement gained momentum this year.

Writing for the New York Times, McDaniel said she did not speak up sooner because she worried about retaliation.

“I did not report it because other women who reported were called ‘sluts,’ given bad work assignments, and some male troopers refused to ride partner with them … I wish I had spoken up. I quit the police force after four years due to the constant harassment. They effectively drove me out. This was in the 1980s but little has changed,” she wrote last week.

Others have reported similar harassment.

 

One female employee alleged that her male supervisor and two male troopers referred to her by sexually derogatory terms, discussed sexual promiscuity and sexual desires, made sexual gestures, and touched her inappropriately and without her permission while she was stationed in McConnellsburg, Fulton County, in 2005 and 2006. She filed suit, and the state police settled the case for $435,000 — one of the largest payouts — in 2012, the records show. (Like the Inquirer and Daily News, the Caucus does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assault without their consent.)

In another case, a female clerk typist at the Butler barracks alleged in 2008 that a corporal there “would make suggestive and offensive remarks and engage in suggestive and offensive conduct without her permission, and handcuffed her to the steering wheel of her vehicle.” The state police settled the federal lawsuit and paid $42,500.

Four pending lawsuits filed by women against the state police allege similar harassment.

In one, a federal case scheduled for trial in Scranton in February, a trooper has alleged “a severe and pervasive hostile work environment” at two different barracks. Emails cited in court records show a male trooper asked the female trooper about her “tan lines,” referred to her as a “kitten,” and pulled her onto his lap in the workplace.

In another pending case, a female dispatcher alleges she was raped and sexually harassed by an unnamed trooper in 2013 at the Blooming Grove, Pike County, barracks. She also contends state police officials tried to suppress the claims because they wanted to protect the reputation of the agency and the trooper. The case is pending before federal Judge Robert Mariani in Scranton.

In the Philadelphia case resolved last week, a jury sided with a female corporal who alleged she was repeatedly harassed by a male trooper whom she had previously dated while employed at the Trevose barracks in Bucks County. The corporal stated in her complaint that she told her supervisors about the harassment repeatedly, but they did nothing to solve the problem.

The corporal obtained a two-year protection-from-abuse order against the trooper, who is no longer stationed at that barracks. The trooper, who was initially named as a defendant in the suit but was later dropped from the case, did not return a telephone message seeking comment. The corporal is now stationed in Philadelphia.

J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Gov. Wolf, said the administration was aware of the verdict against the state police but could provide no further information about the case.

“Gov. Wolf finds sexual harassment reprehensible and has made it clear to his staff and cabinet that it is unacceptable,” Abbott said. “While every large organization will have bad actors, we trust that the vast majority of state employees, including troopers, live up to high standards and respect their fellow employees.”

Spokesmen for the state police and the attorney general said their offices were reviewing the verdict and assessing legal options.

Paula Knudsen and Brad Bumsted, LNP Media Group, Posted: December 24, 2017, “Pa. state police paid $8 million to settle claims against troopers”, http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania-state-police-settlements-sex-harassment-misconduct-20171224.html

“This is more than a mistake:” Marcell Daniels sentenced to 12 years in prison in sex assault case

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee County judge sentenced 46-year-old Marcell Daniels to 12 years in prison and another six years of extended supervision. Daniels will also have to register as a sex offender.

It was an emotional day in court as family of Daniels spoke of his character.

“He’s not this monster. He’s a good person. He truly is,” said Shirley Daniels, Marcell’s sister.

Daniels, a retired Milwaukee police officer, was convicted of sexual assault. He was accused of having sexual intercourse and taking sexually explicit pictures with someone 16 years old or younger. In a plea deal, Daniels pleaded no contest to a felony charge of child enticement. Prosecutors dismissed two other charges.

Prosecutors say the allegations date back to 2005. The victim told police she met Daniels when she was 14 or 15, after she and her friend were arrested. A week later, the victim told police Daniels called her and brought her to the home he lived in on N. 55th Place, and he would take pictures of her with and without clothing.

“I have no idea why in the world you were with 14 to 15-year-old girls,” said Judge Jeffrey Conen in court Friday.

With the help of Daniels’ now estranged wife, investigators found proof on Daniels’ computer — photos spanning several years. Family of the estranged wife held a protest outside of the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Friday afternoon. They feel Daniels has had special treatment through the trial.

“The police are well-versed in the law. they take an oath to swear and uphold the law. They should be held more accountable because they are the people we trust,” said Ryan Dewerth, ex-brother-in-law.

Before his sentencing, Daniels apologized to those he hurt.

“I apologize to the victims, the victims’ families, for any emotional or mental damage or distress that I caused them,” Daniels said. “I lost my wife, my children, the respect of my peers in the community.”

“People make mistakes, but this is more than a mistake,” Judge Conen said.

Again, Daniel was sentenced to 12 years in prison with credit for time already served. He was also sentenced to six years of extended supervision.

“This is more than a mistake:” Marcell Daniels sentenced to 12 years in prison in sex assault case

Deputy fired after arrest for sexual battery while on duty

Evan Cramer, 28, arrested on Tuesday Updated: 11:32 PM EST Jan 25, 2017,

A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested and fired Wednesday morning, according to Sheriff Ken Mascara.

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Mascara said a woman went into Longwood Medical Center Tuesday evening and said she was sexually assaulted by a sheriff’s deputy.

After a brief investigation, Evan Cramer, 28, was arrested Wednesday morning, Mascara said.

Mascara said Cramer pulled over the victim early Tuesday morning for a minor traffic violation.

Cramer is accused of telling the victim she had multiple warrants out for her arrest and said she could avoid jail time if she granted sexual favors, Mascara said.

Cramer is then accused of putting the victim into his cruiser and driving her to a vacant lot where the alleged assault happened.

The woman then went to the hospital and reported the assault.

“She was terrified,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara. “You could hear it in her voice. You could see it. It was palpable.”

WPBF 25 News has learned Deputy Cramer had problems at his previous job, as well.

We’ve obtained Cramer’s personnel file for when he worked for the Sandford Police Department. He started there in March of 2015 and in January of 2016, three of his superiors recommended to the chief that Cramer be fired.

A Lieutenant in the department cited multiple reasons for the recommendation, including “using inappropriate language in public” and “using his authority to gain compliance.”

Cramer resigned from the department in January before he was fired.

Less than four months later, he was hired at the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.

He is being held in the St. Lucie County Jail without bond

http://www.wpbf.com/article/deputy-fired-after-arrest-for-sexual-battery-while-on-duty/8638919

Bond set at $75K for Chicago police officer charged with sex assault

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Tony BriscoeChicago Tribune

A Chicago police officer accused of having sexual contact with an underage girl has been charged with felony criminal sexual assault, according to police and Cook County state’s attorney officials.

Officer Eugene Ciardullo, 51, was arrested by fellow officers at his home Saturday afternoon, department spokesman Officer Jose Estrada said. Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered him held on $75,000 bond Sunday.

Prosecutors said in court Sunday that Ciardullo began communicating with the victim and her friends via social media when she was 16 years old. Prosecutors and police said the victim identified Ciardullo as the person who began having a “sexual relationship” with her when she was 17.

“The defendant and the victim discussed their age difference and defendant told the victim he could lose his job and go to jail if they were caught,” assistant state’s attorney Ed Murillo said. “The defendant told the victim to tell people who asked about their relationship that they were just good friends.”

The Tribune is not publishing additional details about the victim to avoid identifying her.

Ciardullo admitted to the allegations and knowledge of the victim’s age, prosecutors said.

Ciardullo, who wore sweatpants and a black coat, remained silent throughout the court hearing. He is expected to return to court Tuesday.

Ciardullo, of the Scottsdale neighborhood, is assigned to the department’s Deering District on the South Side, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

The felony charge against the 21-year department veteran was approved Saturday.

In addition to his employment with Chicago police, Ciardullo worked as a part-time security guard at a Chicago Public School in Mount Greenwood, a neighborhood known for its large number of police and firefighter residents. Michael Passman, a spokesman for CPS, said Ciardullo’s employment with the school district ended last month.

“A part-time security officer at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences was removed from his position in December in response to serious allegations, and the individual is no longer an employee of Chicago Public Schools,” Passman said. “The school responded promptly and followed proper protocols after it became aware of the allegations, and CPS is cooperating with law enforcement as it investigates the matter.”

About two dozen of Ciardullo’s family members were in court and appeared rattled by the allegations, with some relatives holding each other’s trembling hands while crying. One man braced his forehead against a gallery pew in an apparent daze.

Relatives declined to comment following the proceedings.

Ciardullo’s defense attorney, George Grzeca, said the officer’s career achievements included four commendations and 100 honorable mentions. He is also a four-year veteran of the Marine Corps.

Grzeca also declined to comment further outside court.

If he does post bail, Ciardullo will have to surrender his passport and any firearms he owns. He also is barred from using the internet and having any contact with people younger than 18. According to court records, Ciardullo has seven children; all of them are adults, Grezca told Kuriakos Ciesil.

Grzeca said his client has turned in his service weapon.

The internal affairs division is also investigating the case, Guglielmi said, and will present its findings to the Chicago Police Board to determine what discipline should be ordered.

“The Chicago Police Department is currently also investigating this incident internally and administratively,” Guglielmi said in a statement. “We remain committed to the highest levels of accountability for our officers and members and will not tolerate any activity or actions that undermine the integrity of the hard working men and women of our Department.”

Ciardullo has been a Chicago police officer since August 1995, according to city records.

Throughout his career with the Police Department, Ciardullo has amassed about 40 complaints on allegations ranging from minor personnel violations to excessive force but has only been found to have committed wrongdoing on two occasions. He was given a 10-day suspension in 2001 stemming from an excessive force allegation and a two-day suspension in 2008 for a violation related to “weapon/ammunition/uniform deviation,” the records show. It’s unclear in the records if Ciardullo served those suspensions or fought the penalties.

Details of the actual allegations within those complaints were not available.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-police-officer-charged-sexual-assault-20170115-story.html?platform=hootsuite

Deputy Arrested for Alleged Sex With Teen Explorer Scout

The deputy is a 14-year-veteran with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities say a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has been arrested and booked on suspicion of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a teenage girl participating in the department’s youth Explorer program.

The department says in a statement Deputy David Israel Ceballos was arrested Friday and booked on charges of sexual intercourse and sexual penetration with a foreign object on a minor. His bail was set at $100,000.

It says the 14-year-veteran started a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old after meeting her in mid-2016. She is now 18 years old.

They say other Explorer scouts reported Ceballos to a deputy serving as an Explorer advisor and that started an investigation. There are no other known victims at this time.

The department says 34-year-old Ceballos was placed on paid leave pending a separate administrative investigation.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Deputy-Arrested-for-Alleged-Sex-With-Teen-Explorer-Scout-409242855.html?platform=hootsuite

Elmendorf police officer accused of having sex with girl, 13

Jesus Gonzalez, 42, arrested in uniform

By Katrina Webber – Crime Fighters Reporter

Posted: 6:49 AM, December 29, 2016 Updated: 12:53 PM, December 29, 2016

SAN ANTONIO – A reserve officer with the Elmendorf Police Department was in full uniform Tuesday when he was arrested and accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Jesus Gonzalez, 42, faces a first degree felony charge of continuous sex abuse of a child.

The arrest affidavit did not specify the agency that employed Gonzalez.

However, state law enforcement records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders confirm Gonzalez worked as a reserve officer at the time of his arrest Tuesday.

An Elmendorf police official confirmed Thursday Gonzalez resigned following his arrest.

Gonzalez’s badge, ID and other city property has since been returned, according to the official.

Additionally, county officials confirmed Gonzalez worked as an entry-level juvenile detention officer the past year, before resigning December 12.

The county’s chief juvenile probation officer said Gonzalez resigned while facing discipline for attendance issues, unrelated to the sex assault case.

The official said there was no indication Gonzalez had any issues with juvenile inmates.

The arrest affidavit stated that the mother of the 13-year-old girl made the outcry after finding provocative pictures of her daughter on her cell phone.

She told investigators that the girl later admitted that Gonzalez had asked her to send him the photos, and that they have been engaging in an ongoing sexual relationship since September, the affidavit said.

Although his mug shot does not reflect it, the affidavit said that Gonzalez was dressed in his full law enforcement uniform at the time of his arrest.

Gonzalez previously worked for the Alamo Colleges and Natalia police departments, in a law enforcement career spanning 18 years.

http://www.ksat.com/news/local-law-officer-accused-of-having-sex-with-girl-13