Mount Rainier Employee Says She Was Fired for Reporting Sex Assault by Officer - NBC4 Washington

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Mount Rainier Employee Says She Was Fired for Reporting Sex Assault by Officer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Maryland Woman Says City Fired Her for Reporting Sexual Assault

    A former employee for the city of Mount Rainier says she was fired shortly after reporting that she was sexually assaulted by one of the city's police officers. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins talked exclusively with the woman, who says she wants her job back. (Published Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019)

    A former employee of the city of Mount Rainier, Maryland, says she was fired shortly after she reported that a city police officer sexually assaulted her.

    A number of officers and employees, including the police chief, resigned after her allegation came to light. Now, she says she wants her job back.

    The woman worked for the Mount Rainier Police Department as a civil employee starting in 2014. For at least two years, a police lieutenant sexually assaulted her more than a dozen times when she worked late at night, she said, speaking exclusively to News4. Maria declined to show her face on camera or use her last name. 

    "I've been a victim here," Maria said. "I would like my job back."

    She recalled one of the alleged assaults.

    "He grabbed my hand, put it right on his part and pushed me down," she said. "Right after that happened, I run out from his office and run straight to the bathroom to throw up."

    Maria said she didn't report the abuse because she was afraid.

    “I was afraid of him,” she said. “I was afraid to come forward with anyone.”

    Last year, the Mount Rainier Police Department shut its doors as a number of investigations were underway, including one into Maria's case. The chief, the accused officer and others resigned.

    City Manager Miranda Braatz said the city has changed.

    "All of the employees who were accused of any sexual harassment are no longer with the city of Mount Rainier Police Department," she said. "So not only do we have a change in leadership at the top, but we've had a significant change in staffing in our police department as well."

    The new chief says there have been major changes in the department.

    “I certainly knew coming into this that one thing that was very important to do was reestablish trust with the community, trust with the department and city hall, and trust with the officers and myself,” Chief Anthony Morgan said.

    News4 is not naming the officer who was accused in the case because he was never criminally charged. We have confirmed he now works for the Seat Pleasant Police Department, nearby.

    Maria took a year off from work to cope with what she says happened. When she returned to the job, she said she was told her job no longer existed. The city manager declined to comment on Maria's future with the city, citing pending litigation.

    News4 contacted the Seat Pleasant police chief. He said the officer in question left the Mount Rainier Police Department in good standing and that he was unaware of the accusations. He said the officer has not had any complaints or discipline since joining Seat Pleasant police.

    Photo credit: Seat Pleasant Police

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