No Girls Allowed, Goddamit: Capitol Police Sexually Harrass and Intimidate Female Employees

For female cops working with the Capitol Police, showing up to work could warrant a number of sexual advances and harassment, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Department employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Hill, say intimidation is used to keep  victims quiet, and those who speak who out are completely ignored.

According to The Hill:

"'Females are definitely being harassed and discriminated against,' said a supervisor, 'People are scared to say anything.'"
Jim Konczos, the police union’s chairman, said not nearly enough is being done to fix the problem.
'While you would expect the department to take these complaints seriously, I believe they do not,' he wrote in an email."

The problem is ongoing – perhaps years long – as a July 8, 2008 letter reveals the same horrific policies, still not remedied today. According to the Hill, the letter, from Konczos to Chief of Police Phillip Morse, addresses the problem of “lax” sexual harassment policy, including complaints that an officer had insinuated three female officers were strippers.
According to The Hill:

"The officer who allegedly made the remarks was assigned other duties during the investigation. When he returned to his duties, he was presented with a welcome-back cake during a roll-call meeting, the letter said.
'This is why the complaints were filed without names, because of retaliation and intimidating tactics,' the letter said.
'The department is condoning a hostile work environment and the officers deserve better,' the letter stated. 'Management needs to lead by example, and this is a poor example.'"

When victims finally muster the courage to complain about the boys-club like harassment, the department’s standard of female submission continues, often not even separating the two parties involved, or moving – and acutally promoting – the offender to a different location.

"When something happens with an official and they do something wrong, they are like, ‘Oh, well, if we give them a promotion, they have to transfer and go someplace else,'"'said one supervisor to the Hill “It’s just displacing the poor conduct; it’s not fixing the problem."
"There’s currently four or five retaliation cases against Capitol Police because if you say something, they’ll transfer you to an assignment you don’t like, they’ll transfer your shift, they’ll make it horrible on you until you say, ‘You know what, I’m done,’ ' said a sergeant. 'You have no other option than to go along with the program.'"

According to The Hill, some women –void of any other means of legal action – are pursuing a class action lawsuit.

But Konczos has a more proactive idea. “I believe Congress should look into the validity of the complaints and how they were handled by the department,” he wrote, “If it’s determined that the department did not follow proper protocol to handle this correctly, then Congress should intervene to make sure this does not happen again.”

The Capitol Police, of course, insist complaints are taken seriously. 

Read more about the Capitol Police's atrocious sexual harassment record at the Hill

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at August 13, 2011, 5:58am

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