Two Miami-Dade Schools Police officers filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging that Police Chief Charles Hurley sexually harassed them and that they suffered retaliation when they tried to fend him off.
Officers Deanna Fox-Williams and Yewande Gibson told NBC 6 South Florida that before Hurley became the school district’s police chief – and after – he was out to have sex with them.
“He became erect and pointed out the fact that he was to me, and wanted me to look at him,” Fox-Williams said of one episode.
Gibson said she was “caught completely off-guard.”
“It was completely unwanted – his attack on me,” she said.
The officers, with more than 28 years experience between them and a list of recommendations, have filed two suits in Miami-Dade County civil court alleging that Hurley, Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho and the school board violated federal and state law when they were sexually harassed by Hurley and then were retaliated against.
“He decided that because he could not get what he wanted, that he was going to make my life a hell every opportunity he got,” Gibson said of Hurley. She added that she believed officials were aware of what was going on even at the superintendent’s level.
“That’s what retaliation is about. You are scared to death,” said the officers’ attorney, Willie Gary. He added, “You know what you have to say is going to fall on deaf ears.”
The school board said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but it did emphasize that it took quick action and reassigned Hurley once the women went to the federal government to complain. While an acting chief is in place, the lawsuits refer to Hurley as the police chief.
But the women both claim in their lawsuits, “Despite having notice of the repeated and continuous sexual advance by Defendant, Chief Charles Hurley, toward Plaintiff and other female employees, supervisory personnel and the other defendants failed to take any remedial action.”
Gibson has a difficult time speaking about the day she claims Hurley told her to stop by his home in uniform to see the renovations he had done to his property. She said she was interested in getting tips to renovate her house.
Her lawsuit alleges, “Once inside the house, Chief Charles Hurley grabbed Plaintiff around the torso, forced his tongue in Plaintiff’s mouth, unzipped his trousers and forced Plaintiff’s hand onto his penis, all before Plaintiff was able to break away and flee from the house.”
Gibson said she was in uniform at the time.
Fox-Williams said in her lawsuit that Hurley would come to her office at the school board headquarters building and indicate he wanted to have sex with her in her office and on her desk.
Fox-Williams said she was threatened with termination.
“That was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gibson said she was transferred 35 miles and taken out of the job she loved at a crime prevention program with school kids.
“I think for somebody in his position, rejection is hard to accept,” she said of Hurley.
And he was in a powerful position, attorney Gary said.
“The fear of God in most of the workers there that are under his leadership, and of course Officer Gibson and Officer Fox-Williams, they have to answer to him,” he said.