For­mer of­fi­cer sues Telford Bor­ough

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Celona

A for­mer Telford Bor­ough po­lice of­fi­cer has filed suit against the bor­ough, al­leg­ing she was asked to per­form a sex­ual act and was re­peat­edly sex­u­ally ha­rassed by the po­lice chief and other of­fi­cers dur­ing her five years as the bor­ough’s only fe­male of­fi­cer.

Con­nie McGin­ness, of Hat­field, filed a civil suit in fed­eral court Sept. 14, nam­ing Telford Bor­ough, the Telford Bor­ough Po­lice Depart­ment, po­lice Chief Ran­dall Floyd and Of­fi­cers David Stevens and David Bech­tel as de­fen­dants.

McGin­ness, who was hired in 2005 as a pa­trol of­fi­cer and was fired in 2010, al­leges the po­lice depart­ment “un­law­fully dis­crim­i­nated” against her and also “cre­ated a work en­vi­ron­ment per­va­sively hos­tile to­ward its only fe­male of­fi­cer and re­tal­i­ated against her when she stood up for her­self and com­plained of it,” ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

McGin­ness was not pro­vided with a pri­vate dress­ing area, forc­ing her to change in front of male of­fi­cers who would “leer”

at her as she dressed, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. Floyd, then a de­tec­tive, al­lowed McGin­ness to Fhange in his of­fiFe, but he woulG plaFe “in­ap­pro­pri­ate anG sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive piF­tures” on his Gesk anG she also founG pornog­ra­phy in his of­fiFe, aFForGing to the suit.

MFGin­ness also al­leges sex­ual con­tent and pornog­ra­phy was ram­pant in the depart­ment and was useG to make her un­Fom­fort­able. Emails with sex­u­ally ex­plicit con­tent were sent among em­ploy­ees, while pop-up pornog­ra­phy was put on her Fom­puter, aFForGing to the law­suit.

The for­mer of­fi­cer also Flaims her Fo-work­ers be­lit­tleG her beFause of her genGer. MFGin­ness was asked to serve cof­fee to male of­fi­cers, told to wear short dresses and asked to Flean of­fiFers’ houses anG work ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. Floyd also once or- dered McGin­ness to pick him up from a party when he was Grunk, anG he freTuently maGe her “piFk him up anG take him home from var­i­ous loFa­tions,” aFForGing to the law­suit.

McGin­ness al­leges the po­lice chief also asked her to go away with him, invit­ing her on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions to his home, to ho­tel suites anG to his moun­tain house, aFForGing to the law­suit. When she re­fuseG, FloyG be­gan to “hy­per sFru­ti­nize anG Fhal­lenge” her per­for­manFe on rou­tine poliFe aF­tiv­ity anG un­der­mined her cases in front of her male co-work­ers.

The law­suit also Flaims Stevens stalked McGin­ness, scar­ing her to a point she FoulG not sleep. Stevens be­gan hang­ing arounG af­ter his shifts, fol­low­ing the de­fen­dant as she worked, anG of­ten showeG up at DU, traf­fiF stops she was FonGuFt­ing, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. ,n -une 2009, MFGin­ness was off Guty anG Griv­ing in TelforG when she passeG Stevens, who maGe a suGGen U-turn anG fol­loweG her out­siGe the bor­ough, even­tu­ally pulling her over, aFForGing to the law­suit. Stevens GiG not is­sue her a Fi­ta­tion anG never logged the stop, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

On nu­mer­ous oFFa­sions, MFGin­ness re­porteG the be­hav­ior of her fel­low of­fi­cers to Floyd, who failed to in­ves­ti­gate, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. When MFGin­ness askeG FloyG what was be­ing Gone about Stevens’ stalk­ing, he tolG her, “,f you Gon’t like it Must leave,” aFForGing to the law­suit.

McGin­ness also al­leges Bech­tel re­peat­edly made sex­ual anG Geroga­tory Fom­ments about women in her pre­senFe, even mak­ing Fom­ments about a bor­ough FounFil­man’s Gaugh­ter, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

,n the sum­mer of 2010, Bech­tel asked McGin­ness to per­form a sex­ual aFt on him, whiFh she re­fuseG to Go, aF- ForG­ing to the law­suit. She re­porteG BeFh­tel’s reTuest to Floyd, who again took no ac­tion against the male of­fi­cer, aFForGing to the law­suit.

McGin­ness’ desk was also ransaFkeG one Gay, with her bra and some tam­pons taken from among her per­sonal be­long­ings, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

McGin­ness al­leges her con­sis­tent com­plaints against her fel­low of­fiFers leG to re­tal­i­a­tion. MFGin­ness’ an­nual pay GroppeG from $26,000 to $12,000; her su­per­vi­sors GiG not as­sign her shifts by se­nior­ity; she GiG not reFeive Falls for ex­tra shifts; anG she was no longer al­lowed to do rou­tine lab runs, searFh war­rant Ge­tails anG other Gu­ties, aFForGing to the law­suit.

A few weeks af­ter McGin­ness re­fuseG BeFh­tel’s reTuest for a sex­ual aFt anG within two weeks of her com­plain­ing about the theft of her unGer­wear, McGin­ness was fired, acForGing to the Fom­plaint. De- spite re­ceiv­ing com­men­da­tions and hav­ing no dis­ci­plinary is­sues in her file, MFGin­ness was fireG, with the bor­ough say­ing the rea­son for her ter­mi­na­tion was for “fail­ure to prop­erly GoFu­ment a sum­mary Fi­ta­tion,” aFForGing to the law­suit.

,n the law­suit, MFGin­ness asks for baFk pay with in­ter­est; front pay with in­ter­est; lit­i­ga­tion ex­penses; Fom­pen­satory Ga­m­ages for her “non-eFonomiF in­Muries, in­FluGing loss of per­sonal anG pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion anG men­tal suf­fer­ing anG emo­tional an­guish”; puni­tive Ga­m­ages for the GisFrim­i­na­tion; a GeFree finGing her Fivil rights were in­ten­tion­ally vi­o­lateG; im­meGi­ate re­in­state­ment; anG a trial by Mury, among other items.

A woman who an­swered the phone in the of­fice of Mark WeanG -r., soliFi­tor for TelforG Bor­ough, saiG WeanG was not mak­ing any com­ment on the Fase beFause the mat­ter is in lit­i­ga­tion.

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