Former officer sues Telford Borough
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.