Philadelphia Pays $1.25M in Police Sex Harassment Case

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Philadelphia paid $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit by a woman who claimed a veteran police commander sexually assaulted her when she was an officer in a department in which she said sexual harassment was pervasive, reports The commander, Chief Inspector Carl Holmes, remains on the job eight months after the payout, but the fallout may not be over. Mayor Jim Kenney’s spokesman said the mayor found the case “extremely troubling, from start to end.” Although Kenney did not call for anyone to step down, as he did after a much smaller payout to settle similar claims against city Sheriff Jewell Williams, he left open the possibility that the city’s new top prosecutor may launch his own review.

The allegations against Holmes are a decade old. But the settlement came during a year in which similar and damning allegations against powerful men in the workplace have surfaced almost daily, leading to a national reckoning in Hollywood, the media, and politics. The judge overseeing the case offered a pointed assessment before the city agreed to resolve it. The accuser, the judge wrote, “has provided sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude the City knew of its specific problems with sexual assault and harassment in the police department … but did little or nothing to stop such conduct.”

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