Hyattsville, MD- A former police officer for the Hyattsville Police Department has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a fellow officer sexually harassed and raped her at an out-of-town event.
Masha Lessard began working with the Hyattsville Police just weeks after she graduated from the academy, and worked there until she was fired in 2009.
Lessard is suing the department for sexual harassment, assault and retaliation after she complained to her supervisors. Employers are often sued by sexual harassment attorneys for taking actions, such as termination or denial of promotions, against complainants.
In her complaint, Lessard said, “The Hyattsville Police Department has a dangerously chauvinistic culture that was rife with sexual bigotry. Male officers were allowed and encouraged to sexually harass female officers. The worst offenders acted with impunity and female officer that complained of the harassment were severely retaliated against and threatened.”
Lessards complaint lists eleven officers that created a hostile work environment and describes a number of harassment incidents.
The most shocking incident occurred in 2007 when Lessard and other officers were attending a Fraternal Order of Police conference in Lexington, Kentucky. She alleges that Cpt. Pat O’Hagan pulled her into a restaurant bathroom and forced her to touch his crotch. Later that night, Lessard alleges that O’Hagan entered her hotel room while she was sleeping, got on top of her and tried to rape her.
Employers have an obligation to take sexual harassment or discrimination allegations seriously. Unfortunately, employers often fail to stop the misconduct and instead punish the accuser. It often takes the representation of asexual harassment lawyer to force employers to address this behavior.
Aside from making the workplace hostile, harassment caused emotional distress in the victims and they may lose wages and even worse, their jobs. With a sexual harassment attorney on their side, the harassment victims can seek a financial settlement for their abuse.