REVERE (CBS) – Revere Patrol Officer Brenda Galvez says she was sexually assaulted by one of her peers while training to be a police officer, an event that early on tainted her idealistic view of policing. “I was sexually assaulted and pretty much nothing was done about it,” Galvez said.
When she stepped in the door at the Revere Police Department in 2017, Galvez says the incident followed her.READ MORE: Crash Caught On Camera Amid Uptick In Complaints About Off-Road Vehicles In Pelham, NH
“Chief Guido kind of said it’s not in your best interest to pursue any charges because you’re not an officer yet. You’re still a student,” she said.
Since then, Galvez filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the Revere Police Department and then Chief James Guido alleging more sexual harassment and discrimination.
According to the suit, Galvez claims she started receiving inappropriate attention from a superior officer shortly after her arrival in Revere.
“He would send me messages asking me what I was wearing. One of them said, ‘are you wearing a onesie?'”
In another incident outlined in the complaint, Galvez says a fellow officer tried to assault her while showing her how to wear a tactical vest.
“He tried to force me to give him a kiss. And I pushed him away and said what are you doing?” she said.
While working a detail at the Squire Lounge, Galvez alleges that the owner inappropriately brushed up against her. When her complaints got back to Chief Guido, Galvez alleges he dismissed her concerns.
“The chief called me into his office and I told him what happened and he said, that couldn’t be. I go golfing with this guy occasionally on Sundays,” Galvez said. “And he kind of said, maybe if you didn’t look the way you look, these things wouldn’t happen to you.”READ MORE: CDC Expected To Recommend Face Masks For Fully Vaccinated Americans Again In Some Indoor Settings
Guido and the City of Revere specifically denied this allegation in a court filing.
Sergeant Detective Lynn Romboli also filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Revere Police Department in 2019. She claims she has more than once been retaliated against for pointing out officer misconduct.
“I received information that one of our officers may have been involved in a domestic situation and that the department might have covered that up,” Romboli said. “When the administration found out what I was looking into I was immediately removed from my position.”
That time, Romboli says her key fob to the building was shut off without explanation, forcing her to work from the women’s locker room.
Since their suits were filed, a new chief has taken over but both women say a toxic police subculture persists. Galvez says when her calls require two police officers, sometimes her back up does not arrive.
“I’ve been to several calls where I arrive and the second cruiser doesn’t,” she said.
Galvez is also a two-time winner of the Hispanic Officer of the Year Award. She says her awards are not in the department trophy cabinet where other accolades reside.
In a statement, Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, who appointed Chief Guido, said, “Chief Callahan took command on July 1, 2020 and is working toward an overhaul of the policies and personnel that have contributed to a toxic culture that was neither welcoming nor inclusive. These kinds of changes will not happen overnight.”
Guido declined to comment on this story.MORE NEWS: Mass. Traffic Is Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels, But At Different Times And Routes
“It takes a toll on you. On your health, on your family life, your mental health,” Romboli said.