“The repeated occurrence of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at such a high level shows a failure to appreciate a serious issue within the agency,” Pennsylvania Inspector General Donald L. Patterson said yesterday in a 112-page report on sexual misconduct and harassment in the State Police.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Patterson took to task past and present State Police policies – from how recruits are hired to how troopers are disciplined. The report documents systematic problems at the agency.
Gov. Ed Rendell announced that he had hired Kroll Inc., an international security firm, to monitor the State Police for a year to ensure that policy changes are made to prevent sexual misconduct.
Allegations of widespread misconduct arose in May in a civil suit against a jailed former trooper.
Thomas Sheridan, the attorney for the plaintiff, attached dozens of trooper misconduct case files to bolster the contention that State Police brass did little to thwart such sexual transgressions.
An internal investigation found 68 substantiated misconduct cases against 75 troopers, two liquor-control officers, and two civilian employees from 1995 and 2001.
The head of the state troopers’ union was quoted in the report as saying “the fact that [female officers] ride in patrol cars with men all night, essentially ‘spending the night together’ – has put an ‘extra burden on policing’ and has caused problems of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.” The officer says it was his lawyer, not he, who made the comment.