According to the Hartford Courant, New Britain’s police department is facing a new sexual harassment claim. A fourth female police offers has complained that the captain who runs the internal affairs unit was sending inappropriate text messages. The police officer has filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Office Paula Keller, a nine-year veteran with the department, also charged that Chief William Gagliardi failed to investigate her sexual harassment claims. This makes a fifth federal case against the city and its police department, as well as Chief Gagliardi. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven.
New Britain’s police force has about 140 offers and supervisors, most of them are male. In 2009, three other female officers sued the city in federal court charging the department failed to protect them against sexual harassment at work and discrimination. Former Officer Russell alleged that a sergeant ordered her into a private room and forced her to fondle him. The plaintiffs also alleged repeated and offensive comments about female officers, which were the culture of the New Britan’s police department.
Keller said that she was passed over for special assignments and advances in 2009 by Captain Anthony Paventi. Keller accused her superiors of failing to report or investigate Paventi’s conduct. Keller’s attorney described the nature of text messages as personal contact, but failed to provide further details. The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.