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Female officers reach deal with city over feared retribution

By MARYCLAIRE DALE

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Two female police officers whose sexual harassment lawsuit led Philadelphia’s police commissioner to resign have reached a temporary agreement with the city involving their fears of retribution.

The women say their complaints of being physically and verbally harassed by supervisors and colleagues were ignored by department brass. One accuses outgoing Commissioner Richard Ross of failing to help because she had broken off a two-year affair with him in 2011. Ross, in his first public comments Wednesday, denied retaliating against anyone.

The women, in a lawsuit filed Friday, say that since raising complaints they’ve been assigned rotating shift work, given undesirable jobs, harassed over efforts to pump breast milk and suffered stress-related medical problems.

Just last week, Mayor Jim Kenney had called Ross the nation’s best police commissioner after he helped negotiate during a nearly eight-hour hostage standoff that left six officers shot and wounded.

Speaking outside police headquarters Wednesday, Ross said his abrupt resignation was completely voluntary and he has “never sought retribution on a person, personally or professionally.” He did not comment on the lawsuit specifically.

“My love for this city has compelled me to make a decision that is bigger than me,” he said. “Given the circumstances … I just thought for the greater good of all citizens of Philadelphia, the fine officers here and the mayor, that it would be better if I just moved along.”

Kenney noted a sexual harassment prevention policy and efforts to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment were implemented a year ago.