Commenters on this blog have been wanting to know more about the pay-out to Lillian Rivera, a police officer on leave from the Cranston police department. Today, David Scharfenberg delivered a detailed account of her disability and injury claims against the city of Cranston. From the Projo:
CRANSTON A disputed sexual-harassment charge is driving a mounting controversy over a police sergeant who has been out of work with pay for three years, a Providence Journal investigation has revealed.
Legal documents and interviews with current and former city officials point to a long-running feud over alleged verbal harassment, sexually explicit e-mails and Police Department politics.
And with election season approaching, partisans are trading charges about Mayor Michael T. Napolitano’s decision to settle with Lillian Rivera, the sergeant at the center of the furor, in June 2007.
The administration has declined to release the settlement, which is public record under state law. [full text]
I have to give credit to Geoff Schoos, who predicted to me in a conversation last week that this was the result of a larger problem within the police department. And it was Jesse here on Kmareka who seemed to know that the Laffey administration also had to handle this mess, though it doesn’t sound like his predictions about the former Mayor’s direct involvement are panning out. The hard-ball directions were apparently delivered by Grimes.
It’s disappointing (though not unexpected — it happens everywhere, in human services, too) to see how much sexual harassment is still a problem. If the Mayor’s settlement and publicizing of this case helps to bring about better understanding of what harassment is and why we need to stop it, then this may be a just cause indeed. But we need to know more. Silence should not be part of this settlement, not if it’s really about change. I hope we will learn more about this story. I hope Mayor Napolitano and Lillian Rivera (and maybe even Chalek and Brown) will help us all have a teachable moment over this.