Arundel police sergeant accused of harassment

January 18, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A county police sergeant who allegedly used a picture of a nude woman to harass a female co-worker has been charged administratively with conduct unbecoming an officer and violating the department's sexual harassment policy, police officials said.

Sgt. Lafayette Harvey, a patrol supervisor at the Northern District station, was charged in December with harassing a female officer and a civilian employee who works at the station with him, Sgt. Mark Howse, assistant to the chief, confirmed Friday.

The alleged harassment occurred sometime between 1991 and the spring of 1992, police officials said, and was reported to the department's Internal Affairs Unit in September.

Sources close to the investigation said Sergeant Harvey, an 18-year veteran of the department, altered a photograph of a nude woman to include a picture of the face of one of the alleged victims.

The sources also said the allegation involved inappropriate hugging and verbal abuse.

According to the sources, department officials offered Sergeant Harvey a 15-day suspension as punishment, but he turned it down and asked for an administrative hearing. No date has been set for the hearing that would be made up of three officers of equal or higher rank to Sergeant Harvey.

Sergeant Harvey could not be reached for comment.

The complaints follow a formal sexual harassment training program for county police officers.

After a series of complaints from women in the department last year, Chief Robert Russell ordered all employees to participate in a three-hour session at the police academy in Davidsonville.

Last year, two captains were disciplined for similar complaints.

Capt. Richard Smith, a 22-year veteran, was fined $5,000 after he pleaded guilty to departmental charges of sexual harassment and other conduct violations. And Capt. Don F. Ward, former commander of the Northern District, was forced to retire in the wake of complaints against him.

Another county police officer was given a day off without pay as punishment for describing a female officer as "good in bed" in front of his squad in April, police sources said.

Sgt. George Halpin, of the Southern District, made the remark during a shift briefing on April 14, and although the female officer was not present during the remark, she heard of it and filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Unit.

Sergeant Halpin waived his right to a departmental hearing and accepted "summary punishment."

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