HULL (CBS) – A female police officer in Hull has filed a sexual harassment suit against the town’s Police Chief and two other commanding officers, charging they demeaned her and other women in department.
Their actions were “pervasive and severe” according to the suit. For Wendy Cope-Allen, with fourteen years on the force, it may be one of the biggest risks she has faced to take on her superiors, but her attorney James Brady calls it the tipping point in a male-dominated department.
“I have never seen a workplace environment so poisoned by misogyny,” said Brady. Named in the suit are police chief Richard Billings, Captin Robert Sawtelle and Lieutenant Dale Shea. They allegedly told others in the police force that Cope-Allen was promoted from dispatcher to police officer by being promiscuous, “that Cope-Allen was having sex with numerous male police officers and firefighters.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports
“It was either leave the department or take action,” said Brady, who claims leaving was not an option since Cope-Allen has an accomplished resume on the force including being the head of the DARE program, and work with victims of domestic violence.
Her suit is supported by two other former female employees who have since left the force because they say they witnessed the harassment or were victims of it themselves. They have signed sworn affidavits, including statements officers were heard saying, “Cope-Allen got her job because she is a little flirt”.
Her attorney is now calling for the demotion of the officers or their resignation. “I think that would signal to the community that Hull is serious in trying to correct egregious, poisonous conditions in the police department,” he said.
Hull’s town attorney John Davis says he is still reviewing the documents, but tells WBZ-TV the case has no merit.