Ex-captain files denials in sex harassment A woman who quit Balto.Co. police force sues male supervisors, county

February 18, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

A former Baltimore County police captain has denied making a pass at a woman officer who is the plaintiff in a $9 million sex-discrimination and harassment suit against the county and two police supervisors.

The denial, by now-retired Capt. Robert Frame, is contained in the county's answer to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore by former Officer Anne Noell Fiedler of Catonsville.

Fiedler alleged that she quit the department because she was continually harassed by male officers due to her sex.

She also claimed that Frame attempted to kiss her during a conversation in his home last August and that another defendant, Sgt. William Unkle, prompted other officers to harass her and retaliated against her after she reported a fellow officer for harassing a woman job applicant.

County lawyers answered the suit by asking Judge Joseph C. Howard to dismiss it or to issue summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

The county lawyers said Fiedler might have been subjected to "offensive" statements on the job. But the lawyers said she was not "denied promotion, advancement or otherwise treated differently" from other police officers because of her sex.

Fiedler "can point to no statement in the complaint that was derogatory to her personally or to her gender that was not corrected by Frame once he became aware of it," the county lawyers said.

They also claimed that the defendants are exempt from liability due to their qualified immunity as county officials.

Frame, the former commander of the department's Employment-Affirmative Action Division, said in a sworn affidavit filed with the county's motions that he noticed Fiedler was "upset and had been crying" after he arrived at work last Aug. 2. He said he asked Fiedler to go to lunch with him so they could discuss her problems.

During their lunch hour, they stopped at his home so he could check some plumbing work he had done that morning, he said.

While they were there, Frame said, Fiedler began talking about her marital problems and began to cry.

Frame said he grabbed her arms and shook her, and told her, "You've got to get your head on straight" as he attempted to calm her. Later, when the conversation ended, they went back to work.

"At no time did I ever kiss Officer Fiedler on the mouth or attempt to kiss her or in any way attempt to force myself upon her in a physical way," Frame said in the affidavit.

The former captain said he "took special pains" to ensure that female officers in his division "received special consideration" when they were under pressure to deal with the "dual responsibilities of being a police officer and a parent."

Fiedler's attorneys have not yet answered the county's motions, and Judge Howard has not ruled on them.

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