Montville police officer claims she's a victim of harassment

Montville - In a complaint filed with a state commission in February, police Officer Karen Moorehead alleged that Resident State Trooper Sgt. Martin Martinez harassed her and retaliated when she complained to the state police about his behavior.

Moorehead, who has worked for the police department for 14 years, filed the complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. She did not ask for specific damages but requested that the commission investigate and secure her rights as well as "any remedy to which I may be entitled."

According to Moorehead's complaint, Martinez had set his cellphone ring tone to play "Where the white women at?" during a roll call incident. When Moorehead entered, he allegedly said, "Oh look, she just walk in!" causing the group to laugh.

The incident was "extremely embarrassing" for Moorehead, according to the complaint. In August 2012, she asked the state police Equal Employment Opportunity Unit to have Martinez change his ring tone and he complied, according to the complaint.

Moorehead alleges that Martinez then changed all her work schedules, violating her union contract. She then filed a grievance with the union.

She also accused Martinez of pulling old incident reports and reports that had already been signed off by an immediate supervisor, and asking the state police internal affairs and major crime unit to review them.

Montville is contesting Moorehead's claim and is represented by an attorney from its insurance company, Argonaut, said Mayor Ronald McDaniel. He declined to comment further on the case because it involves pending litigation and personnel matters.

Moorehead could not be immediately reached for comment.

In October 2011, Moorehead filed a harassment complaint with the town, accusing Lt. Leonard Bunnell of treating her unfairly.

The town's internal investigation concluded that although Bunnell had routinely intimidated officers, the incidents described by Moorehead did not rise to the level of harassment.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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