Mendham Township Police Chief Resigns After Sexual Harassment
New Jersey – Ex-Police Chief, Steven Crawford, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the police department, Amy Upchurch, former administrator, and several committee members, for the alleged sexual harassment and workplace retaliation he suffered prior to filing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Since 1988, Crawford has been an active member of the police force. He recently resigned from his position earning a $125,000 salary with intentions to file for retirement after learning he meets the retirement requirements.
Crawford claims Upchurch sexually harassed him with unpleasant remarks about his appearance, his love life, and women. Upchurch was also accused of asking Crawford, “How big is your monster?” referencing his private parts. He also alleged that he faced retaliation after he provided public protection to the police force by opposing to allegations involving “driver profiling.” The sexual harassment started in 2012, Crawford says he reported the misconduct, and no action was taken.
According to Crawford’s sexual harassment attorney, “The parties are in negotiations,” referring to the sexual harassment lawsuit.
Crawford is requesting compensatory and punitive damages for the hostile work environment he tolerated, allegations regarding civil rights abuse, “defamation and slander by Upchurch,” supervision and control violations, along with other unspecified claims.
A representative from the township have yet to respond to a request for comments on the sexual harassment lawsuit. As the pending lawsuit continues, more information will become available to the public.
Crawford’s Decisions produced Workplace Animosity
According to past reports, committee members accused in this sexual harassment weren’t too pleased with the decisions Crawford made without consulting them. The committee was offended by his actions. The professional bond between the committee and Crawford began to deteriorate in June 2014 after Robert Wysokowski alleged that his superiors pressured him to “target young drivers for tickets.” He also claims he was overlooked for a well deserved promotion. Wysokowski’s allegations transitioned into a lawsuit for the police department.
Crawfords response to Wysokowski’s allegations was delivered through a news conference encompassing the bulk of the department. Crawford respectfully “denied any pressure on officers to profile young drivers.” Crawford explains that he later received news informing him about two committee members. Samuel Tolley and Maribeth Thomas, along with the ex-committeeman Richard Merkt were allegedly planning to “enter into an agreement.” This agreement was set to connect with Amy Upchurch in order to damage Crawford, his reputation, and clean work history with the department.
Merkt argued that Crawford never mentioned anything about sexual harassment while he served on the committee in 2011 through 2014. He also declined the allegations of conspiracy to ruin Crawford’s image.
On July 16, 2015, Upchurch decided to leave her position with the township behind a few days before Crawford’s “intent to sue” notice was filed. Merkt followed suit, resigned from his position as a committee member, and started working as a Borough administrator.
Although Crawford made a few decisions without including the committee members, his actions took place in a positive manner. The department was facing serious allegations, and Crawford attempted to interfere and remove some of the negative attention away from Mendham Township. As this case goes to trial, the truth or a settlement shall resolve the sexual harassment and retaliation allegations.
Are you seeking Legal Help with Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Many individuals view employees of the law as protection. Under various circumstances, even the law needs legal protection. If your response is yes, contact the New York City, Miami, New Jersey, and Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. We are available to examine your case, help you understand your rights, and provide excellent legal representation.