Police sergeant receives a suspension for harassment of women co-workers

April 09, 1993|By Angela Winter Ney | Angela Winter Ney,Staff Writer Staff writer Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

A county police sergeant has been suspended without pay for several incidents of sexual harassment involving female co-workers, police officials said yesterday.

Sgt. Lafayette Harvey, a patrol supervisor at the Northern District station, had been scheduled to appear before a three-member Department Trial Board on the charges, but he admitted culpability and accepted disciplinary action, police officials said.

Sergeant Harvey was charged administratively in December with harassing a female officer and a civilian employee who works at the station with him, Sgt. Mark Howse, assistant to police Chief Robert Russell, confirmed in January.

The suspension will last two weeks, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.

An 18-year police veteran, Sergeant Harvey allegedly altered a photograph of a nude woman to include a picture of the face of one of the alleged victims, sources have said. The sources also said the allegation involved inappropriate hugging and verbal abuse.

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

In addition to being suspended, Sergeant Harvey will be required to participate in training and counseling designed to deter such conduct in the future.

According to sources, department officials earlier this year offered Sergeant Harvey a 15-day suspension as punishment, but he turned it down and asked for an administrative hearing. He apparently changed his mind.

The department has been plagued by a series of sexual harassment complaints in the past year. Chief Robert Russell ordered all employees last year to participate in a three-hour session on sexual harassment.

Last year, two captains were disciplined. 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.

Capt. Don F. Ward, former commander of the Northern District, was forced to retire in the wake of complaints made against him.

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