‘You belong to us’ taunt for women enviro cops – claim
THREE COPS plan to sue the city for alleged sexual harassment by their superiors at the Department of Environmental Protection.
The cops, all women, claim Lt. Hector Reyes and Sgt. Aubrey Zephyr repeatedly asked them for dates or punished them for not cooperating with their advances, according to a notice of claim they recently filed with the city.
One officer, Dilma Rothermel, alleges the two married men inappropriately touched her and made sexually suggestive comments at the city’s Hillview Reservoir in Westchester County. Whenever Reyes asked her out, she claimed, she told him she was married, the notice of claim alleges.
“From now on, and then every time you are at Hillview, we are your husbands, you belong to us, you are from our academy, you are ours now,” Reyes would reply, according to the notice of claim.
Reyes (photo inset) and Zephyr allegedly demanded hugs from Rothermel at the end of her shift. Reyes allegedly often called her into his office to tell her how beautiful she is. Reyes also, the papers allege, would tell her, “You don’t love me.” And he allegedly called her “sucia,” a Spanish word meaning “filthy” that can also be read as “whore.”
As a result, Rothermel says, she began to try to hide from the men while at work and even stopped wearing perfume there because they would comment on that.
“Hey, are you wearing Botox today, you look different today, I can’t believe how good you look for your age; you must (be) wearing Botox,” Reyes would say, according to the allegations.
Both men allegedly suggested she married the wrong man.
Starting early last year, Rothermel says, Reyes refused to approve her overtime and refused to shift her schedule, while giving plum assignments to male cops with less experience.
Yolanda Moore, a sergeant in the unit and a union board member, similarly claims she was harassed by Reyes and that she has seen other female cops harassed.
Reyes allegedly made her salute him, but her male colleagues didn’t have to, and she claimed he disregarded her seniority.
After she filed a complaint, she says, Reyes ordered her to take her stuff out of her locker in the female changing room and turn the locker over to a man. Moore is now the only sergeant in the precinct with no locker, the notice of claim says.
Kristy Tangredi, meanwhile, claims she witnessed incidents of sexual harassment against Rothermel. But when she stood up for the officer, Reyes allegedly stripped her of overtime and treated her differently from the male officers.
“This is an example of one of the dark secrets and realities women in law enforcement have had to endure and continue to endure,” the women’s lawyer Terrence Dwyer told the Daily News.
He said the DEP has allowed systemic sexual harassment and retaliation at the agency’s 6th Precinct.
Dwyer declined to make his clients available for an interview.
A lawyer for Reyes and Zephyr declined to comment.
A DEP spokesman said Monday the allegations are under investigation. He declined to comment Tuesday.