A former Suffolk County, N.Y., police officer on Friday won $260,000 in a sexual harassment suit he filed in federal court after being fired two years ago, reports the New York Law Journal. John Weeks, who was based at the third precinct in Bay Shore, Long Island, alleged his colleagues tormented him because he is bisexual, while his supervisors did nothing to stop it.
Weeks's lawyer, Rick Ostrove of Leeds Morelli and Brown in Carle Place, said his client's sexual orientation was made public after internal affairs investigated a "lovers' quarrel" he was having with another male officer. The other officer denied the affair. As a result of the investigation, Weeks said he was compelled to sign a stipulation regulating his behavior and that his purported violation of that agreement led to his firing. Between the investigation and the firing, Weeks said he was subjected to antigay graffiti and threats of violence.
After a nine-day trial before Judge Leonard Wexler, the jury awarded Weeks $80,000 in compensatory damages and $180,000 in punitive damages. Defending the department, Suffolk County attorney Christine Malafi said in an interview that all of the alleged incidents occurred after Weeks's superiors had accused him of abusing his vacation and sick leave. She said that they are studying the outcome of the trial and have not yet decided whether to appeal.