Four male senior police officers in Hadden Township New Jersey have filed a lawsuit asserting that when they reported their male chief of police for making unwanted sexual advances and lost their jobs as a result, that they were wrongfully punished.
Hadden Township is located in Camden County, New Jersey and is a town of around 15,000 people. This particular case has been active for about three years now. Last year, the officers filed a tort notice, with many of those allegations carrying over to this latest court filing.
Captain Scott Bishop is the lead plaintiff, with Lieutenant Sean Gooley, Sergeant Thomas Whalen, and Detective Sergeant Joseph Johnston joining him in the suit.
According to NJ.com, the lawsuit claims that Chief Mark Cavallo made flirtatious and sexual comments and inappropriately touched the officers. The officers claim that Cavallo has blown them kisses, pulled his pants down to expose his underwear, and even texted a photo of himself in the shower to one of them.
Insofar as harassing language was concerned, Cavallo stands accused of saying things like:
“Turn around and let me see what you got. … I could just eat you up. … Talk dirty to me, baby. … [and] I would like to get you down on my workbench.”
The town’s mayor, Randall W. Teague is attempting to say the allegations only came about because there were discussions of promotions within the 26-officer department in January 2017.
Initially, the men reported Cavallo to former township commissioner John Foley in February 2016, who later resigned in 2017. Additionally, they also filed a complaint with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office in October 2016.
Although the township claims to not believe the men, it must think there is something to the claims: The Hadden Township Commission handed down the decision that the four men would have to testify under oath about the allegations.
THERE HAS ALREADY BEEN A SETTLEMENT
As if this case weren’t already salacious enough, there’s a twist. There was a fifth officer involved, as well, fired in 2015. Deputy Jason Dement served 11 years on the force. He settled the case with the township for $175,000 just last year.
In his lawsuit, Dement claimed the exact same things as the other officers, sexual harassment from Cavallo. After he accepted the settlement offer, however, he said that he:
“…Was never subjected to a hostile work environment.”
The township claimed that the massive settlement was because Dement had an eye ailment that prevented him from doing his job. The township used its own insurance policy to pay the settlement.
Cavallo is named in the new lawsuit filed by the four officers, as well as the township and the township’s personnel director. The officers claim that they have been the subjects of harassing behavior since filing their complaints, along with having their “fitness of duty” questioned.
Surely, this is not the first occurrence of cops behaving badly, but it just might be the most insane example, so far.
Featured Image Via Pixabay/Public Domain.