A former police officer for the city of Goodhue, Minn., is suing her onetime employer, alleging the chief of police sent her images of male genitals and made sexual advances over text message, and the city failed to properly investigate after she reported the unwanted attention.
In a lawsuit filed in Minnesota U.S. District Court, Allison Jones accuses then-Chief Brian Loos and the city of Goodhue of multiple civil rights violations for sexual harassment and retaliation, including for terminating her employment after she reported Loos' behavior. The civil complaint states the "sexually derogatory comments and suggestions were implicitly accompanied by threats" if Jones did not respond favorably. "Thus, Defendants Goodhue and Defendant Loos forced [Jones] to endure a work environment in which she was expected to perform sexual favors in exchange for certain terms and conditions of employment, such as maintaining regular work hours and employment." The unwanted behavior included at least one attempt to touch her without consent, according to the lawsuit.
An attorney for Goodhue declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Loos resigned in 2017, after Jones filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
According to the suit, Loos took an unusual interest in Jones while she worked part time as an officer of the Goodhue Police Department in 2016, including asking her to participate in one-on-one fighting training with him, inquiring about her dating life and suggesting they must share a hotel room during an out-of-town conference due to "taxpayer dollars and all." Jones told Loos she would not share a room. She told a co-worker about the inappropriate behavior, who encouraged her to report it, and Jones said she feared she would be fired in retaliation if she did.
On Nov. 16, 2016, Loos sent Jones a series of text messages, according to the lawsuit:
"u always been my girl," he wrote. "[You are] smoking hot u are the total women [sic] Trust me I have had sex 4 times this year."
"R u alone ..." he continued. "U wanna share pics?"
Later, in January 2017, he sent her an unsolicited photo of a penis with another series of messages, according to the lawsuit:
"U are so beautiful, u can have any Man u want, but I will protect u no matter what."
"U know I love you," he wrote, along with graphic description of his genitals, according to the lawsuit. He later apologized for drinking too much alcohol.
Jones reported the behavior in June to her supervisor, who took no action and failed to send the allegations up the chain of command, according to the lawsuit.
The next month, Jones was reprimanded for leaving the city limits after being dispatched to a fire, and for allegations of making insubordinate statements about the mayor, according to the lawsuit.
On July 13, Jones was told there were no more hours available for her to work, effectively ending her employment, according to the lawsuit.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036