Police official agrees to fine, counseling in sex harassment case

January 25, 1995|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A 25-year Howard County police veteran has agreed to pay a $2,000 fine and receive counseling to settle allegations of sexual harassment filed by four female officers last fall, Howard Police Department and police union sources say.

An attorney for Lt. William Pollack, a patrol watch commander identified by the sources as the target of the harassment investigation, would not comment on the settlement. But the sources said the agreement was reached last week, just before a police trial board was scheduled to hear the case.

According to Howard police procedures, serious internal affairs cases only move to a trial board hearing if allegations are confirmed by an investigation. Police Chief James N. Robey approves all disciplinary actions against officers.

Asked about Lieutenant Pollack's case yesterday, Sgt. Steve Keller, a police spokesman, refused to comment. Just last week, he announced that an officer had been disciplined after an investigation into unspecified complaints from other officers.

None of the four female officers who, police sources say, filed complaints against Lieutenant Pollack would comment.

But another female police officer who said she had been harassed by Lieutenant Pollack called the reported settlement, which involves no demotion or loss of leave time, a set-back to fairness on the Howard County police force.

"That's not enough," said the woman, who now works for the Prince George's County Police Department and refused to be named. "If he's been doing it all these years, what amount of money is going to stop him from doing it now?"

Lieutenant Pollack trained recruits in the police academy for several years and was promoted to head of the academy when granted the rank of lieutenant two years ago.

The reported settlement comes after a four-month investigation into complaints that he made inappropriate gestures and comments to female officers during the past 10 years, police sources said. Two of the women said they were harassed in the training academy, and two said they were harassed after they graduated and joined the patrol force, the sources said.

The internal affairs inquiry began in September, when a one-year officer told Internal Affairs investigators that Lieutenant Pollack had made a sexual gesture to her, the police sources say. That complaint prompted three other female officers to lodge their own complaints against the lieutenant from years earlier, the sources said. At least 10 Howard County officers, both male and female, have told The Sun about previous complaints of racial and sexual harassment against Lieutenant Pollack. These sources alleged the previous complaints had been brushed aside by supervisors.

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