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Hartford Police LGBTQ Liaison alleges sexual harassment, disparate treatment

Hartford – The city’s police department stands accused of mishandling a complaint of sexual harassment.

FOX 61 has obtained an eight-page memorandum, which was written by Hartford Police Officer Kelly Baerga and sent to human resources. Baerga is the Hartford Police LGBTQ Liaison.

The interdepartmental memorandum chronicles a timeline and documents interactions, that she claims, demonstrate the department’s “lack of transparency, accountability, and empathy for their female counterparts.”

The complaint centers on Baerga’s former supervisor, Sergeant Andrew Rodney.

Baerga claims Sgt. Rodney made repeated inappropriate comments to her over an eight month stretch, including a comment that she claims intended to “out her” to a fellow officer.

In a phone conversation with FOX 61, Sgt. Rodney admitted to making two specific comments that offended Baerga, but he said he didn’t intend to offend.

“The cost of the department’s inaction has not only caused a health issue of depression and sleeplessness but also created an atmosphere filled with anxiety, hopelessness, and constant and continued fear of retaliation and compromised safety,” Baerga wrote.

“My administration does not tolerate harassment of any kind by anyone,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told FOX 61. “I became aware of a specific harassment complaint against a member of the police department yesterday, I take the allegations very seriously, and there is an investigation underway,” Mayor Bronin said.

Officer Baerga claims she made a verbal complaint to Assistant Chief Raphael Medina in May and was still subjected to attend training with Sgt. Rodney. Baerga claims it took until January for Internal Affairs to contact her.

“I am requesting that the City of Hartford Personnel Department begin to monitor my workplace assignments and offer workplace protections,” Baerga wrote.

“It is important to note that the accused officer was reassigned to a different unit the same day the initial complaint was made, and a formal investigation was initiated immediately,” Bronin said.

Hartford city councilman James Sanchez briefly scanned the memorandum Wednesday evening. Sanchez told FOX 61 the issue likely won't come before the council.

"This is a personnel matter with HR the city human resources and if they need further investigation besides their own I'm sure their engage with corporation counsel,” Sanchez said.

“I have spoken to my senior team today to make clear that we have a fundamental obligation not only to be thorough, but also to be swift, in investigating and acting upon all harassment complaints of any kind,” Mayor Bronin said.

Sgt. Rodney said he would need to consult with his family before agreeing to an on-camera interview.

Officer Kelly Baerga was not available for an interview, but wants her story told.

Assistant Chief of Hartford Police Raphael Medina declined to provide a statement or interview but did tell FOX 61 the complaint was investigated immediately and said quote, "I know the truth, and the truth will come out -- in time."

 

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