FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A Fort Wayne Police Department detective has filed suit against her department for what she describes as sexual orientation discrimination, sex discrimination and harassment.
Bridget Glaser, the plaintiff in the suit, joined FWPD in 1993 as a patrolman and joined the Detectives Bureau in 2002. In 2004, Glaser became an officer detective in the Crimes Against Persons Unit for the bureau, according to court documents.
In 2010, according to the suit, allegations of sexual harassment began. According to the suit, a male deputy chief stated, “What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing, she has already been told twice.”
In mid to late 2010, according to the suit, a sergeant told Glaser that he had four terabytes of pornography and “he pressured Glaser to view his personal pornography collection.”
The suit claims that in the same year, Glaser approached her captain regarding various instances of sex discrimination, harassment and sexual orientation discrimination. The suit says Glaser explained to her captain that female employees were treated as “second class citizens.”
In 2011, Glaser alleges that her direct supervisor at the time, a male sergeant, brought a sex toy to the workplace. She says that for approximately six months, the sex toy was used by the sergeant and other male employees “as the prop and genesis for sexually inappropriate jokes and comments at the office, and used the [sex toy] to simulate sexual acts and positions.” Glaser also said the sex toy was labeled the office mascot and was passed to a new male sergeant upon taking over the unit. Glaser alleges the sex toy was then placed on employees’ chairs, desks and work areas and was placed on her own chair on at least one occasion.
The suit says Glaser complained to her newly installed sergeant about the sex toy and alleges nothing was done about the situation. In reference to the sergeant, Glaser alleges he and other male employees often made up titles for fictitious pornographic films and that the sergeant would often “view women in bathing suits and scantily clad clothing while in the office” in front of employees.
Court documents also say that over the last two years, male employees made sexual gestures including groin grabbing and simulating masturbation. Glaser also says the male employees frequently used derogatory terms against women when referring to them. She says a sergeant within the department referred to female colleagues as “the girls” and other male employees used a derogatory tone when referring to their own genitals.
In April 2012, court documents say Glaser addressed the issue with Fort Wayne Police Chief Rust York. Court documents claim the sex toy was removed from the office one or two weeks before the meeting with York but sexually driven jokes continued.
Chief York says the Fort Wayne police department will be fully exonerated of the allegations made by Glaser. Typically, York says he would not comment on pending litigation against the department but says the claims are inaccurate.
“Because these claims are so inaccurate and misleading, I thought we really need to get out there and explain our perspective on this situation,” he says.
York says the department has reviewed the complaint. He says the claims levied in the seven page document are false.
“Of course we’ve received and reviewed the complaint and any claim that the Fort Wayne Police Department is liable to Det. Glaser for sexual harassment or for violation of her rights is without merit,” York says.
York says Glaser’s position within the Crimes Against Persons Unit deals with sex crimes. He says that for the past several years, Glaser has chosen to work in a “particularly difficult area.” York says Glaser has taken the lead on internet crimes against children as well.
“Somebody, you know, hearing these allegations might think, ‘My God, you know, why is there this kind of object in the office?’ or ‘Why would there be pornography in an office?’ Well, unfortunately, these men and women who work in this area, as part of their daily duty, are really forced to come in contact with some very repugnant, repulsive images and materials and there are items of evidence that go through this office on a regular basis.”
York says he investigated the claims made Glaser after their April 2012 meeting and says no evidence of her claims could be found. He says he conducted a follow up interview with Glaser regarding his investigation into the claims. York says the department will prevail in the litigation.
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