REMINDERVILLE, Ohio (WJW)– A complaint filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court accuses the long time police chief of Reminderville of sexual harassment.
The complaint filed by attorney Brian Spitz of Beachwood on behalf of Cara Wilson, who was hired by Chief Jeffrey Buck in 2017.
According to the lawsuit ,the process began awkwardly with Buck asking her to appear at his home for an additional interview.
“Buck told Wilson that Buck’s then-girlfriend had to meet Wilson,” the suit said. “Male prospective officers are not required to interview with Buck’s girlfriend.”
“Wilson was warned by other law enforcement officers that Buck had a history of trying to sleep with the help,” the suit also said.
It also alleged that at one point, the police chief demanded to look through pictures on Wilson’s phone. She objected and contends the chief overruled her objections and while looking through her photos, found one of her “partially nude.” The suit alleged Buck stated, “That was not how I pictured you in my head.”
According to her attorney, Wilson was mortified that her boss had been picturing her naked in her head.
“He kept making comments about having sex or wanting to have sex, talking about her personal life, talking about directly saying, ‘This is not how I pictured you naked,’ and talked about picturing somebody naked,” Spitz said. “She put up with this for a long time just to do the job and she would have continued to put up with it reporting it and opposing it but they fired her for her opposition to it.”
Spitz said Wilson followed the proper procedures, logging complaints about the treatment, which the suit claims were met with an offer for her to be transferred out of the department to a narcotics unit. The suit claims when she declined the transfer, the chief and others in the city terminated her because of, “Unsatisfactory performance.” According to the suit, she excelled as an officer with RPD, was held up as an example to other officers because of her work performance, and was lauded for her number of citations and her number of arrests.
Spitz said the accusations are more than just “he said-she said” conversations between Wilson and Buck.
“The fact of the matter is he made comments about who she was dating and what was going on in front of other officers. This wasn’t a secret he was doing this,” Spitz said.
Her attorney claims there are now others willing to come forward with similar complaints dating back to 1999.
“There’s a long history and more women coming out of the woodwork, saying this is a shared experience, ‘I have dealt with Chief Buck before, he has a type and he has a method.’ So there is a pattern that the city cannot deny that they know about because they have been put on notice of this same type of conduct before,” Spitz said.
The village on Thursday was not commenting on the lawsuit.
Buck was said to be out of the office on vacation.
The suit demands, in part, that the village police department abolish discrimination, harassment and retaliation; require allocation of significant funding and trained staff to implement all changes within two years; remove or demote all supervisors who have engaged in discrimination, harassment or retaliation; and asks for compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000.