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Two gay cops sue
for discrimination, harassment

Two gay cops sue
for discrimination, harassment

Two gay Washington, D.C., cops have filed separate lawsuits alleging that senior officers disclosed their sexual orientation to their coworkers without permission, the Washington Blade reported Friday.

Officers Anthony Faverio and Donald Marcus Phillips each state in their lawsuits that internal affairs investigator Debbie Anne Burt outed them in a widely circulated report in May.

Burt's report was part of an investigation into sexual harassment claims Faverio made against former sergeant Richard Moats in November 2005, complaints that Phillips and two other officers corroborated. Her report allegedly centered on examining the sexual orientation of the complainants rather than the sexual harassment charges.

Phillips's lawsuit claims he admitted his orientation to Burt after she promised him "information concerning his sexual orientation would not leave the room." The tape was then disseminated through the first district, where he was assigned, and made its way to neighboring districts as well. He later received a barrage of threatening and homophobic phone calls at his residence, one of which came from the administrative offices of the first district, according to his caller ID. When Phillips applied for medical leave due "the debilitating effects of depression," his police powers were suspended and he was relegated to clerical work.

Faverio's suit, similar to Phillips's, argues that the "defendants knew or should have known that such disclosure of plaintiff's sexual orientation would within the culture and customs of the Metropolitan Police Department cause harm to the plaintiff." Both suits allege sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation, negligent supervision, and invasion of privacy.

Phillips has since been reinstated as an officer in the first district, and Faverio has transferred to the narcotics and special investigation unit. Both the police department and its gay and lesbian liaison are refraining from commenting on pending litigation. No trial dates have been set. (The Advocate)

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