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Harassment Investigation Completed. New Case Against Bunnell Possible?

Police Officer Karen Moorehead filed EEOC complaints against Bunnell for workplace harassment and sexual harassment.

 

The investigation into whether the allegations by Montville Police Officer Karen Moorhead against Police Lt. Leonard G. Bunnell amounted to workplace harassment and/or sexual harassment is done – more than 8 months after the probe into the allegations was launched.

And while Moorehead has declined to comment on the investigation other than to confirm she’s aware it’s complete, Montville Patch has learned the investigation report concluded the myriad allegations “generally happened.”

She filed the complaint against overt harassment and disparate treatment.” In a memo and other documents obtained by Patch, Moorhead spells out incident after incident of “harassment, intimidation and sexual harassment.”  

Those charges include but are not limited to a Bunnell comment about Moorehead’s breasts, his statement she should “sign (a document) like a good girl,” and instances of “intimidation,” including one when he blocked her from leaving an room and repeated contact when he was cautioned not to have contact with her pending the resolution of the complaint.  

And while the investigation found Bunnell’s behaviors toward the School Resource Officer “entirely inappropriate,” it concluded nonetheless that his actions “did not rise to the level to support a claim of sexual or workplace harassment.”

But Mayor Ronald McDaniel said regardless of the findings, the matter “will be all resolved shortly.” When asked to elaborate McDaniel declined citing the “need to keep personnel things confidential.”

Moorehead’s Hartford-based attorney Andrew Houlding said he would have to defer comment until he sees the entire report.

“We don’t have a copy. We don’t know who was interviewed, was not interviewed and so we will wait to comment until we have (the report) in our hands,” said Houlding said.

 

Helping out

Montville Finance Director Theresa Hart was “helping out,” she said, acting in the capacity of a human resource and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission officer to run the investigation. She was assisted by attorney Hinda K. Kimmell of the New London-based law firm of Suisman and Shapiro.

According to the firm’s web site, Kimmell frequently defends employers in discrimination actions, though she also wears the hat of investigator of alleged discrimination or employee misconduct, including sexual harassment, as she did in the Moorhead case.

A call for comment was not returned.

 

Moorehead has to pay Town $250 to get copy of report

The investigation into the alleged harassment is over. The report is done. But Moorhead does not have a copy. It will not be turned over until she pays the town $249.50.

According to Houlding, that’s the fee for the copy of the investigation report, at $.25 per page, her attorney said, it is apparently some 1,000 pages long.

“The town’s position, apparently, is for us to avail ourselves of a copy…at a charge of almost $250,” he said.

Moorehead has seen portions of the report but has declined to comment to Patch instead deferring to her lawyers.

Bunnell subject of other investigations

Meanwhile, Montville Patch was contacted by a CSP staff attorney in reference to our request for a copy of the other Bunnell investigation report, completed two weeks ago by the state police Major Crimes division. Bunnell was being investigated in connection with the alleged improper use of the state police background-information database.

According to an early April letter from Lt. John S. Eckersley, major crimes commanding officer, Bunnell was accused of not following proper procedures for requesting criminal background checks on 38 occasions, between October of 2011 and January of 2012.

 

Bunnell has not returned previous calls for comment. 

L.C. July 09, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Explain - how does a comment about a women's breast "not rise to the level of sexual harrassemnt?" lc
Mike Z. July 09, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Stop the stupidity. Get rid of this law firm and the mayor. Nothing good has come from their poor leadership and constant billing of the town.
Sarah Mae Wegins July 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM
L.C. I guess it's what you want it to be. Town attorney asks the administration that retains them to do the investigation as is told to come back with a very broad interpretation of the charges, thus this finding. Simple conclusion if you hire someone to do an independent investigation there should be no reason for that individual to be bias. The Town Attorney has a financial interest in keeping the Mayor and Council happy. This of coarse is my opinion only.
Kelly July 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
The same old story . If your in the good ol boys network your protected. If your not your fired. Someday our town will wake up and vote in competent people that do what's right for montville not what their buddies want. Until then we will keep paying out for the big lawsuits.
lee July 09, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Good Luck Officer Moorhead, this town has been stuck in the 50's for years. Unfortunately when it comes to our town officials & police it's their way or no way.
Mike Z. July 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Funny but I saw Lt. Bunnell directing traffic last night on Route 32 & 163. Only in montville can you be brought up on numerious charges, take comp time off then double dip by working a road job. Way to go Mayor.
Liz July 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM
If she had filed a CHRO the Town couldn't hide the dirt. Why didn't the CSP perform an IA on the harrassment complaint? Montville does not have police-they have constables under the direction of a resident State Trooper- with the Mayor as the "Acting Chief of Police". At no time, in any controversy, has the Mayor been capable or willing to step up and perform the investigation himself. That is his charge. CSP investigates every complaint internally and of any nature into an internal affairs investigation. Why not in this matter?
lee July 10, 2012 at 05:59 PM
thank you Liz..I've tried to tell people they are constables & not police, but I get all kinds of stories on how wrong I am. What I don't understand is, I always heard that constables are not allowed to hold rank, so why is officer Bunnell ranked as Lieutenant.
Pete J July 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM
They are 'Sworn" POLICE OFFICERS by the State of Conn. State Law supersedes local rule They take the same training as State Police, Hartford Police, Norwich police, Colchester Police.
Pete J July 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Because the Police union contract say's he can. It's he time he earned it. Besides that his road job is being paid for by the contractor.
Pete J July 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Maybe I would if I were in the room and over herd the comment, but I was not, and neither were you!
Pete J July 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM
When ever the Reflubs don't like the verdict it blame the Mayor. All you back seat lawyers don't know all the facts, so how can you give an informed opinion. YOU CAN'T
Pete J July 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Maybe we can elect people like you who know everything. Also name ALL these big lawsiuts. Rand Whitney happened over 10 years ago, nothing to do with current members.
Cathy July 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM
What i don't understand is how can some one be told not to have contact with some one and then have contact with them and not consider it harassment! And to make her have to pay for a copy of report is crazy! There are many forms of harassment and if you feel like you are then you are plus it makes for a hostile work place i wouldn't feel good working with him!
elizabeth consolini July 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
good luck officer Moorhead! We know the history of attempted intimidation that has been a hallmark of this redneck group. Set up a site for donations and I will contribute toward getting your copy o f the report.
lee July 11, 2012 at 10:29 PM
New London County Sheriffs office says they're constables. don't they have to go away for training? there are a few that never left their job or town. some of them have been the biggest bullies in town. what goes around, comes around.
Lynda J. Jean July 31, 2012 at 06:25 PM
When will the Real Truth be revealed is the question, not what past, present, and others town officials are and have done. The story is about Ms. Moorhead filing a harrassment complaint. Just wondering if Ms. Moorhead is one that can dish it out but can't take it? Why hasn't she paid the $250 to get this out in the open and clear it up instead of it lingering and giving us all something to write about and question?
Maze Stephan October 26, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Karen Moorehead is a personal friend. I have the utmost respect for her and her professionalism. She does a fantastic job for Montville schools and their families. She is a deeply Christian and reverent woman and is raising a young family. It takes great courage to speak out when something is wrong and then be willing to fight to correct the situation. It is shameful to attack any victim. However, Karen is more than just a victim in this matter, she decided to fight back. Karen has fought to stop behavior that is insulting to all of us. We are grateful for people like her.

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