Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Inside Ossipee Police Department
The Ossipee Police Department’s first-ever full-time female officer is suing the town, alleging she was the target of gender discrimination and repeated instances of sexual harassment during her six years with the force.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court, Kimberly Hatch alleges she was “repeatedly subjected to gender-based harassment/comments,” including observing and being the target of degrading remarks made by employees of the all-male police department.
Hatch also claims a colleague tased her in 2013, and then “wrote on her forehead while she was disabled.”
Representatives for the Town of Ossipee, which is named as the defendant in the $2.2 million lawsuit, didn’t respond to a request for comment. The police department also declined to comment.
Attorney Leslie Johnsoin, who is representing Hatch, said she couldn’t elaborate on the tasering incident, including whether Hatch pursued criminal charges at the time.
Hatch was hired in 2012, reportedly becoming the first full-time female officer in Ossipee’s history.
Her lawsuit alleges that she was “repeatedly made fun of by the male officers,” including a repeated insult that she “must have a penis and balls because her feet were so big.”
Hatch claims her colleagues on the force repeatedly degraded women in her presence, including a secretary employed by the department.
She states that she was afraid to file complaints about the treatment she received “because she had been told on numerous occasions” that she was free to find somewhere else to work.
Her suit lays out a culture of misogyny inside the small department, and that “it did not appear to her that OPD took crimes against women seriously.” Hatch alleges that officers would water down charges levied against defendants in order to avoid lengthy paperwork requirements.
Hatch was fired from the department in October 2018 after a dispute over damage to a police cruiser. According to the lawsuit, Hatch says she immediately reported the accident, assuming the damage was caused by a rock.
The department investigated the accident, according to Hatch, and determined she had crashed into a traffic sign, which she denied. Hatch was ultimately terminated for allegedly falsifying the accident report.