One of the more common forms of police misconduct involves sexual harassment against other officers, victims, and suspects who police come into contact with during their investigations, or even random bystanders. Despite the fact that these acts should not be committed by law enforcement professionals, it is up to the individual department and local prosecutor to determine work place sanctions or if criminal charges should be filed against the officer. Many times, the officer is either never formally disciplined or given a minor administrative punishment. A string of incidents involving the same Cincinnati Police Officer demonstrate how frequently this can occur without repercussions.
Officer keeps job despite a history of sexual misconduct
Multiple accusations against Cincinnati Police Officer Dwight Pewett have created one of the largest sexual harassment investigations in Cincinnati’s recent history. An initial complaint surfaced after one problem in 2014, then as relevant authorities started to look into the matter, more and more evidence about the officer’s history of sexual misconduct surfaced. A number of women spoke of acts involving groping, and other forms of unwanted verbal advances as well as touching. There were multiple instances where women who were on a ride-along with Pewett complained that he made sexual comments to them, showed them explicit images on his phone, and tried to initiate physical contact throughout the course of the event. Later, other female officers employed with the department came forward telling stories of Pewett talking to them about his genitals and showing pictures of the same as early as 2003. Pewett was even charged with a criminal misdemeanor for “sexual imposition” at one point. This charge is specific to Ohio’s state sexual harassment laws, but little else is known because the case was later dismissed and the relevant records were expunged.
After the evidence began to pile up and it became clear that Pewett had established a pattern of similar acts, many were disappointed to find that he was only handed a twelve day suspension and was able to keep the same position that allowed him to attempt to take advantage of multiple women. Victims need to find other avenues to be able to punish those who engage in this kind of behavior.
Getting help from the legal process
Both sexual harassment and police misconduct issues can be handled by a lawyer who files multiple civil lawsuits on your behalf. This is true even if the officer’s department does not take any kind of disciplinary action, as this does not affect the ability to file a claim.
In most cases, sexual harassment claims attempt to prove that the offending conduct was unwanted and created a hostile workplace. Employers of those who engage in such behaviors can also be liable for the actions of certain employees if they know of the harassment and do not take appropriate remedial measures. There are also other related claims regarding supervisors or others asking for sexual favors in exchange for certain things. Many different types of incidents can occur depending on the relationship of the victim to the officer, so it is important to speak with a lawyer about the specifics of any instance of sexual harassment.
In situations that involve blatant harassment by the police with ample evidence, the department may want to simply pay out the victim in a settlement to avoid further problems. However, this can be beneficial to many plaintiffs, as the amounts may be large in some cases.
Lawyers in Cincinnati can take your case
If you have been a victim of unwanted sexual advances by a law enforcement officer in Cincinnati or surrounding areas in Ohio, there are local lawyers ready to help.