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    Saturday, October 01, 2022

    Officer says NL police chief harassed him with explicit gay sex talk

    I am no prude.

    And I understand that language around a police station might get a little bawdy, even raunchy, at times. Officers are not baking cakes for church suppers.

    Still, this is 2022, and we’ve all come to expect decent language and behavior in the workplace. Even police officers should be assured that they won’t be regularly exposed to sexual language that makes them uncomfortable, and certainly they should not be asked by a superior about what kind of sexual acts they practice.

    And yet, incredibly, that’s exactly what New London officer Jeffrey Kalolo claims happened to him, over a period many months, in the spring, summer and fall of 2019, when then police Capt. Brian Wright, now the chief, would allegedly harass him with lewd descriptions of homosexual sex while they were alone together in a shift commander’s office.

    Kalolo alleges the chief would ask him very graphic questions about sexual acts, with lewd anatomical descriptions of gay intercourse. He also claims Wright asked him a series of specific questions about whether he liked to engage in those acts and also used hand gestures to describe the imagined sex.

    Furthermore, Kalolo says in a lawsuit he filed in July against the city, and also in an earlier complaint he filed with the city, that he frequently told Wright he felt “uncomfortable” with the conversation “in the hopes the unwanted and inappropriate remarks and gestures would stop.”

    The new Superior Court lawsuit is the first time the allegations of Chief Wright’s “persistent sexualized remarks and overtures” have surfaced publicly.

    The city, in suspending the police chief in the fall, after Kalolo’s first complaint was filed, and then in reinstating him, after a review of the matter by a private attorney, has refused to say exactly what Wright was accused of.

    Copies of the original complaint against him and a written executive summary of an oral report by the private attorney were both so heavily redacted it was impossible to follow the narratives of what they said.

    Complaints by The Day over the redactions are pending before the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission.

    Kalolo’s attorney, Bryan Fiengo, of the New London law firm Suisman, Shapiro, Wool, Brennan, Gray & Greenberg, told me the police chief’s persistent remarks to his client were “supremely offensive.”

    Officer Kalolo will necessarily, as part of his lawsuit, have to make his allegations about the harassment under oath, in depositions or testimony.

    For that reason I would give them great credence.

    Neither Chief Wright nor Mayor Michael Passero responded to my emails seeking comments about the explosive allegations by officer Kalolo.

    No one in the city has denied the accusations of wildly inexcusable workplace behavior by the city’s chief of police.

    The city, after reinstating Wright from his suspension, cited its heavily-redacted report from attorney Michael Rose of the Hartford law firm RoseKallor, an attorney so well known for his representation of municipalities in employment disputes that he notes on his biography that his defense philosophy is that laws can be “misused by problem employees and their creative counsel.”

    Rose’s summary letter is so extensively redacted as to be incomprehensible, although the lawyer does refer to what he calls “locker room banter” that he said Chief Wright acknowledged participating in.

    Kalolo is described in the lawsuit as heterosexual, and the legal complaint says it was unclear to him whether the chief’s repeated profane sexualized remarks delivered in private were meant as an invitation to sex or “disparaging commentary” on the officer’s sexuality.

    Kalolo’s lawsuit says the sexual harassment ended in the fall of 2019, at about the time Wright was assigned to an internal investigation of workplace complaints against Kalolo and others in the department by a female officer.

    That “sham” investigation” as it is called in Kalolo’s lawsuit, dragged on for two years, and the results sat on the former chief’s desk for four months, in violation of department policy rules for timely action.

    In the end, after Wright was made chief and after Kalolo filed his complaint, the internal investigation became the basis for Kalolo being demoted with a substantial pay cut for at least a year.

    I doubt the city is going to be very successful in dodging the liabilities of Kalolo’s lawsuit, any more than it has been in hiding the very troubling allegations about the behavior of the police chief.

    This is the opinion of David Collins

    d.collins@theday.com

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