The Portland Police Bureau's former point man on the issue of human trafficking has put the city on notice that he intends to sue his former supervisor for gender harassment.
Sgt. Doug Justus, who represented the police bureau on the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force for three years, abruptly retired last month and left his position on the police union's executive board (see Murmurs, WW, Feb. 9, 2011).
In a tort-claim notice filed with the city Jan. 3, Justus claims he faced repeated discrimination based on his gender from Lt. Rachel Andrew, his supervisor in the bureau's detective division.
"This discrimination has occurred in the form of loud, repeated bouts of abusive and vulgar language directed at my client along with the successful attempt to force him back to the street on patrol," writes Justus' attorney, Kevin Keaney, in the tort-claim notice.
"We believe Lt. Andrew, the PPB and the City of Portland are engaged in these behaviors in order to force my client into retirement," Keaney continues.
The Police Bureau referred questions to the city attorney's office, which has a policy against commenting on litigation.
Justus, a 24-year veteran, tells WW that Andrew was assigned to the detective division in August last year to oust him after Justus was involved in a controversial case where he butted heads with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland.
âObviously it was connected to that,â Justus says.
The case was detailed in a lengthy Dec. 20 story in The Seattle Times.
According to the Times story, in January 2008 Portland police arrested 16-year-old Kelsey Collins for prostitution. She told Justus she was willing to turn on her pimp, who she said shuttled her from Seattle to Portland.
Justus turned the case over for prosecution in March 2008, to the U.S. Attorney's Office. But more than a year passed without an indictment. In the meantime, Collins' family told the Times, the girl was offered no protection from her pimp.
In May 2009, Collins disappeared and hasn't been seen since.
The U.S. Attorney's Office told the Times the delay came because prosecutors were waiting on the police.
âThat is a lie,â Justus says. âThey had every [police] report they needed to go to a grand jury by April 2008.â