Reporting Karen Anderson
SALEM (CBS) – A police department frozen in time?
That’s what former police officers are telling the I-Team about the Salem State University Police Department.
And one former female officer is speaking out because she says the sexual harassment there must stop.
Today Laura Ktistes is teaching people to ride motorcycles, but her real passion is police work and for more than five years, that’s exactly what she did for the campus police department at Salem State University.
“It was great,” Ktistes told the I-Team. “I loved the community there. I really enjoyed going to work every day.”
That is until she met then Police Chief William Anglin.
“He would talk or make gestures about his genitals almost every time I would see him,” Ktistes says.
She recalls what happened one day when Chief Anglin called her into his office to discuss a promotion.
“He started pulling out photographs, nude photographs,” Ktistes says. “I saw a couple of a nude woman laying topless on top of a BMW convertible.”
That chief eventually retired, but Ktistes claims the number two man in the department, Lieutenant Stephen Turcotte, was even worse.
“He touched my ponytail one time I remember and did kind of a kneading type tug on it while I was sitting at the report-writing desk and he said, oh, this would make a great handle,” Ktistes says.
On another occasion, at an official police ceremony, she says Turcotte gave her a breath mint.
“I didn’t expect it to be so powerful and I had exclaimed at that time, whoa, wow, my whole throat is numb from this,” she says.
“And he said, oh, that will be great for later when you (expletive deleted) your boyfriend,” Ktistes recalls.
She said Turcotte’s comment made her feel “like garbage.” Asked what she did about it, Ktistes says, “Nothing, and I wish I had done something.”
Ktistes is not the only one saying this. The I-Team has spoken with three other former Salem State police officers, including a male officer, and they all say department leaders there have a history of sexually harassing women on the force.
Ktistes was fired last year for what she says was a minor infraction after an internal affairs investigation by Turcotte.
Now she has filed a lawsuit in Essex Superior Court charging Salem State University, former chief Anglin and Lieutenant Turcotte with sexual harassment and discrimination.
A spokeswoman for the the university refused to comment on Ktistes’ allegations. When the I-Team tried to speak with Turcotte outside the campus police headquarters, he said, “No comment, please.”
Despite all that’s happened, Ktistes says she wants her job back at Salem State.
“I loved my job,” she says. “I would like to go back there with a different environment, yes.”
“Women are very important in law enforcement and my goal is that we’ll be seen as equals,” she adds.
Ktistes is also suing the university for retaliation and wrongful discharge. She says other female officers there are anxious to speak out if they could be assured it would not cost them their jobs.
In court, Salem State University, former Chief Anglin, and Lieutenant Turcotte have yet to file answers to Ktistes lawsuit.