Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Just What a Candidate Needs…

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, April 7, 2006

Judge clears way for suit; an appeal appears likely

The Baltimore Sun reports on a sexual harrassment suit that has been ongoing since 2004

The suit is similar to one filed by retired Cpl. Linda Freeman, who won $115,000 in a settlement in 2004.

In his March 22 ruling denying Livesay and the county a summary judgment dismissing the case, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. said, "There is a genuine issue whether such harassment was so widespread as to be a policy or custom of the HCPD."

If Freeman's suit is any indication then Susan Ensko's suit may have some feet.

The trial isn't scheduled until February 2007 (5 months after the September primary).

Some of the allegations in the opinion are outrageous and concern pornography, prostitution, and homosexuality.

I paraphrase from the actual opinion.

Such as, she was subjected to comments that pregnancy "was another reason women shouldn’t be cops", a lecture from her supervisor about having multiple sex partners, and comments about another officer’s sexual preferences. Additionally, that she was subjected to: 1) repeated, sexually explicit comments; 2) frequent comments about "bull roasts" attended by HCPD officers that involved prostitutes; and 3) conversations about pornography and pornography in the workplace. Ensko contends that she found pornography in her office and on office computers and was subjected to comments from her supervisor suggesting that Ensko and another female officer had a sexual relationship.

Apparantly the Court's opinion is that the HCPD and Chief Livesay knew or should have known about the harrassment and it is reasonable to come to that conclusion since Ensko was intereviewed by internal affairs and Livesay. You have to read it for yourself, it reads like a soap opera. In keeping Livesay in play in the suit the Court said, among other things:

that the supervisor’s response to that knowledge was so inadequate as to show deliberate indifference or tacit authorization of the conduct;

The County settled a similiar suit in 2004 with Cpl. Linda Freeman. An article on that can be found here.

How do successive sexual harrassment lawsuits portend for Chief Livesay in the upcoming elections? Remains to be seen.

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One Response to “Just What a Candidate Needs…”

  1. […] If Thatcher is found guilty, the case could raise further questions about the treatment of women within the county Police Department. Since 2002, two female officers have sued the department for sexual harassment [see my earlier post on this], accusing the agency and former Police Chief Wayne Livesay of tolerating a male “locker room” atmosphere. Livesay retired May 31 to run for a seat on the Howard County Council. […]

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