It was recently reported that Philadelphia settled a lawsuit involving a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a police commander. The city paid $1.25 million to the woman. However, the commander who allegedly committed the assault remains on the force eight months after the settlement. These are not the first allegations to surface against the commander, though. Another woman claimed he forced her into a sex act, but she later dropped her lawsuit.
The commander has not been criminally charged with a sex crime and maintains that he was falsely accused. Other Philadelphia Police Department officers have faced sexual harassment allegations as well.
According to public records, the city paid $222,000 to resolve sexual harassment lawsuits involving police officers over the past decade. The mayor's spokesman stated that the mayor found this case to be extremely troubling, and an independent review may be launched by the city's incoming new district attorney.
According to a former detective, sexual harassment was pervasive in the department. She claims that she was subject to lewd and derogatory comments, men exposing themselves to her and sexual assault. She, as well as another woman who came forward a few years earlier, claims to have been sexually assaulted by the same commander accused in the recently settled case. Although the commander was demoted after the investigations, he has since earned back his rank and been cleared of wrongdoing in both previous cases by Internal Affairs.
A police spokesman emphasized that the department takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and is committed to maintaining a harassment-free environment. According to the mayor, more female employees may be pursuing legal action against the sheriff for sexual harassment. The mere accusation of a sex crime can create a stigma that is difficult for the falsely accused to overcome. Those facing charges for sexual assault or other sex crimes should seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: The Inquirer Daily News, "City paid out $1.25 million to resolve sexual harassment claims against Philly Police," Chris Palmer, Dec., 14, 2017