Greenwich Time (Sunday)

Leader of UConn police sex crimes unit removed from post

- By Joshua Eaton STAFF WRITER

The UConn Police Department removed the head of its sex crimes unit last year after an internal probe substantia­ted allegation­s he kissed and touched other employees without their consent and made lewd comments in front of female employees, records show.

Marc Hanna, then a sergeant and supervisor of the department’s Special Victims Unit, also called an employee who had filed the complaint against him to ask her to withdraw it, then lied to investigat­ors about that call, officials found, according to an Internal Affairs report CT Insider obtained through a public records request.

“Employees are forced to modify their behavior in order to avoid having Sergeant Hanna touch them or be alone in his presence,” the report concluded after an investigat­ion in February 2023. “Other employees reportedly declined to apply for career developmen­t opportunit­ies to avoid having to work for Sergeant Hanna.”

In July 2023, Hanna, the police department, the university and the Connecticu­t Police and Fire Union resolved the case by signing a “last chance” agreement that imposed disciplina­ry measures on Hanna. In that agreement, Hanna agreed that the university had “just cause” to discipline him.

The agreement demoted Hanna from sergeant to detective, with a correspond­ing decrease in pay; removed his ability to ever supervise the Special Victims Unit; barred him from applying or being considered for a promoted for five years; and required him to attend remedial training on sexual harassment and other department and university policies.

Hanna also agreed that if he engages in any future conduct similar to what was investigat­ed by Internal Affairs, he would be dismissed from employment with the university.

Speaking through an attorney, Hanna declined to comment for this story.

Internal Affairs reports described complaints about Hanna’s conduct with colleagues but did not identify any complaints from victims or students. UConn said there have not been other complaints about Hanna outside of two Internal Affairs

reports obtained by CT Insider.

“Aside from the content outlined in the IA reports, the police department is not aware of any concerns about Marc Hanna’s involvemen­t with the SVU at any point in time,” UConn spokespers­on Stephanie Reitz said via email.

Hanna joined the UConn police in February 2010, records show. He was named to the Special Victims Unit as it was being formed in the spring and summer of 2013, according to Reitz, who said the unit became active that August.

Reitz said Hanna led the Special Victims Unit from March 2020 until February 2023, when he went on administra­tive leave during the Internal Affairs investigat­ion. He returned to active duty in July 2023 after being removed from the unit and demoted from sergeant to detective.

When Hanna supervised the unit, Reitz said he would often help his staff with investigat­ions, including interviewi­ng victims. In his current role with university police, Hanna does not investigat­e sex crimes or interact directly with sex-crime victims, Reitz said.

Reitz said the police department and Special Victims Unit “care deeply about pursuing justice on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and handling their cases with the utmost diligence, care and sensitivit­y.”

“With respect to this employee, UConn police immediatel­y launched an Internal Affairs investigat­ion upon learning of concerns and complaints regarding the officer’s behavior,” Reitz said. “That investigat­ion substantia­ted that the officer had violated the department’s standards of conduct and applicable university policies,” she added. “As a result, he was demoted in rank and reassigned.”

Grabbing incident leads to other allegation­s

The internal probe into Hanna began in February 2023, when a female officer filed a complaint against him. She said Hanna had grabbed her by her jacket while she was in the department’s uniform room and pulled her into a hallway, according to the report. There, the officer said that Hanna grabbed her by her collar, got in her face and asked why she hadn’t applied for a position that was open.

CT Insider is not publishing the names of potential victims or witnesses identified in the Internal Affairs report because it includes allegation­s of sexual harassment.

Hanna admitted to the rough outlines of the incident during an interview with investigat­ors, according to the report, but said he meant it as “light banter” to ask about the open position.

Hanna also admitted to calling the officer after he learned she had filed a complaint against him, the report said, but told investigat­ors he was calling her to reschedule a meeting and had called other officers for the same purpose. The female officer did not answer the call.

Other officers told investigat­ors Hanna had not called them to reschedule the meeting, and investigat­ors concluded that Hanna had called the female officer to ask her to withdraw her complaint then lied to them about the nature of that call, according to the report.

More allegation­s of unwanted touching, along with allegation­s of lewd comments by Hanna, came to the surface during the course of the investigat­ion.

Kissing employees on the head ‘like they’re my kids’

The Internal Affairs report described Hanna admitting that he kissed a female employee on the top of her head to thank her for doing some work for him. When she responded negatively, Hanna said he then kissed her male coworker on the top of his head, as well.

Hanna told investigat­ors the female employee was the same age as his daughter and he saw her and other younger employees “like they’re kids.”

“There was no ill intent,” Hanna said, according to the report. “It was a thankful, I appreciate it, and that’s all it was.”

The female employee told investigat­ors Hanna sometimes “touched her face with his cold hands,” investigat­ors wrote, even after she moved away from him. She also said Hanna “knelt on one knee in front of her” as she was leaving one day after she had gotten engaged.

“She feels that it is already hard enough to be a young female in a workplace such as a police department and to be valued,” investigat­ors wrote, “so when she’s treated how Sergeant Hanna treats her it is very frustratin­g.”

Not the only one involved

The report also said that another female employee told investigat­ors Hanna often put his arm around her, hugged her or rubbed her shoulders, despite her frequent objections. The employee said she would sometimes leave the office to avoid being alone with Hanna and would intentiona­lly position herself so he couldn’t put his arm around her when they interacted.

Hanna admitted to hugging and putting his arm around this employee but told investigat­ors that she never told him not to, according to the report.

Hanna also admitted to making jokes that were not “appropriat­e for the workplace,” investigat­ors wrote, but said he “wasn’t the only one involved.”

‘The humor of most department­s’

Some allegation­s Hanna either disputed or said he could not recall.

The report describes one incident where a female employee said she overheard Hanna make a crude remark about how another female employee had become pregnant. That employee told investigat­ors Hanna had made a comment to her that made her feel “furious” and “humiliated,” but she couldn’t immediatel­y recall what he said. After investigat­ors told the pregnant employee what the other employee recalled Hanna saying, she said that did sound like the comment he made.

“She recalled feeling humiliated but felt that this was the humor of most department­s, so she just let it pass and didn’t complain about it at the time,” investigat­ors wrote.

Hanna told investigat­ors he did not recall making that comment.

“I would be really shocked that I would say something (like that),” Hanna said, according to the report, “especially in front of her.”

Hanna also denied giving female employees unsolicite­d shoulder or neck massages, outside of one time “years ago” when one had asked him to rub her shoulders.

“That’s not something I would do,” the report quoted Hanna saying.

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