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Investigator: Fife police lieutenant dropped ball on sexual harassment claims

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on May 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm with 11 Comments »
May 3, 2011 5:07 pm

A Fife police lieutenant violated city policies by not following through on a subordinate employee’s complaints that she was the victim of an increasingly aggressive pattern of sexual harassment by a police officer over nearly a decade, an investigator working for the city concluded.

The woman said the officer regularly showed her pornographic pictures on his cell phone, exposed himself and masturbated in front of her in various places on the job, including in an office and the jury room, according to the investigator’s report.

The woman said she went along with some of the activity, according to the report, which notes one instance of consensual intercourse in the weight room. She decided to report the behavior to a supervisor after the officer’s overtures became more aggressive, such as asking to come to her house, the document states.

The investigation of Lt. Doug Burrus – released to The News Tribune this morning – determined that Burrus failed to report the alleged victim’s concerns when she shared them with him in 2009, that he did not immediately report his involvement in the matter when an investigation began last November, and that he was not forthcoming during his interview, according to the report by Beth Kennar, who works for the Seattle-based Summit Law Group.

Burrus said the woman told him only about the pornographic pictures, but he didn’t report them because she insisted the matter be kept confidential, the report said; she just wanted the conduct to stop. But city policy spells out that supervisors must immediately report up the chain of command when confronted with a harassment complaint.

Burrus has worked for Fife police for 17 years, according to the city’s website.

The Burrus investigation is one of three that The News Tribune has requested involving Fife police officers.

As recently as Monday, city officials said they were planning to release the investigation of the unnamed officer whom the female employee accused of sexual misconduct; they said they planned to release it Tuesday.

But this morning, at the same time officials released the Burrus document, they said their investigation of the police officer was exempt from disclosure because “the allegations of misconduct were not substantiated.” The officer resigned from the force in January.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. I think Fife police, city attorney, judges are are some of the most corrupt around. Their idea of justice is how big a fine they can charge no matter how small the offense.

  2. Mudbone says:

    mdw47 I think you are correct about the corruption, but it can’t touch the amount that Tacoma and Pierce county has, and also the WSP in this area.
    They are extreme hypocrits with zero integrity.

  3. lovethemountains says:

    It isn’t great how comments move so fast from the subject at hand, in this case the Fife investigation, to encompass nearly every local police agency. Stay focused folks, you’re projecting.

  4. Duh, you got to be kidding. You mean a police officer was covering for another police officer? I thiought they were the good guys. This goes on constantly in every police organization in the country. I think it’s a job requirement. That’s why I don’t understand al these panels set up (of officers) to investigate themselves. Get real.

  5. Pecksbadboy says:

    These are public servants not heros or Gods.
    As soon as we stop giving them special attention over any other civil servants they think it is OK to cover for the bad behavior of their “Brothers” . They even have their own paid PR officers to feed the local media.

  6. TheWhap says:

    Wait just a dang minute….. Hold on here….
    I am cutting and pasting this from the story, so I do not get it incorrect…

    “The woman said she went along with some of the activity, according to the report, which notes one instance of consensual intercourse in the weight room. She decided to report the behavior to a supervisor after the officer’s overtures became more aggressive, such as asking to come to her house, the document states.”

    Does this mean that she did him in the weight room, but would not think of going to the privacy of his own house??

    He now he has left in the shame of his behaviour on the job with this female officer, and the guy who got the behaviour stopped is on the hot seat??

    Jesus Almighty… He got the job done.. He got the guy to stop and resign..
    And as far as this little hellion of a female officer is concerned..
    Shame on her for doing a fellow officer in the weight room…
    Or even better.. Shame on her for kissing and telling….
    Witch! With a B, folks!!

  7. bullman120 says:

    fire all 3 of them!

  8. lovethemountains says:

    Good idea, bullman120.

  9. If the mouthpiece for Tacoma Police get’s paid for sleeping on the job. Why are we even talking about this. The woman wanted to keep it quiet because she was conplicit in an offense against the public, getting paid to have sex on the job in a publicly owned facility. They both need to put it on the record and be fired. Then the supervisor who used poor judgement to cover it up and any of his superiors that were complicit should submit there resignation.

    This isn’t a harrassment issue. This is two public employees doing what they want on the publics dime and thinking it is cool to get away with it. What is really retarded is these two cops will fade into the wood work and show up in another police precinct.

  10. woundup says:

    She should have been suspended the minute she admitted to (when she filed her complaint) sexual wrong doing in the police station. Then terminated once proved.

  11. SherriLou says:

    It takes 2 to tango. . . but in the end no 1 is in the right when it comes down to your job. . . To bad, so sad. As the saying goes: “If you can’t run with the big dogs – stay on the porch”.

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