Officer sues sergeant over sexual harassment
A former Honolulu police officer filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court alleging her sergeant made unwanted sexual advances and then retaliated against her when he was rebuffed.
Deanna Ho-Ching filed the suit against the city and the Honolulu Police Department, alleging the sexual harassment by Sgt. Grant Moniz from 2004 until 2006. In July 2006, she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state Civil Rights Commission, which later issued letters giving her the right to sue.
An HPD spokesman and city attorneys were unavailable to comment on the suit.
Ho-Ching, a patrol officer, alleged the sexual harassment began after Moniz invited her to work for him in the Ala Moana area in October 2004.
Moniz allegedly began by brushing against her, smelling her neck and asking her for a kiss in front of other officers. He allegedly repeatedly asked her about her relationship with her husband, from whom she was separated, and other personal relationships.
She claims his attentions escalated to groping and kissing despite her refusals and attempts to push him away.
In June 2005, Ho-Ching said, Moniz remarked, "I don't handle rejection very well," and proceeded to retaliate.
He allegedly singled her out for minor infractions, and reprimanded, demeaned and ridiculed her in front of others. Ho-Ching claims the sergeant regularly poked her in the chest and back to check if she was wearing a bulletproof vest, but did not do that to male officers.
Ho-Ching also alleged her beat partners alienated her, excluded her from lunches and get-togethers and didn't back her up on cases.
As a cumulative result, she says, she suffered from depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks. The city's psychologist found her unfit for full duty Feb. 9. She was ordered to surrender her badge, firearm and police identification card, and was issued a civilian ID and worked in a limited-duty capacity in a clerical job.