Lawsuit: Springfield police officers, union ruined recruit's career while protecting male officers

Springfield Police Department employees and the union representing them worked to shield male officers from discipline and ruin a former female recruit’s career prospects, according to a federal lawsuit.

In a lawsuit filed Saturday, Amanda McIntyre says SPD targeted and fired her after she had sexual encounters with higher-ranking officers while department employees and the Springfield Police Association protected “favored male officers” and prevented her from working as a police officer.

McIntyre, who previously was unnamed, has alleged through her attorney for several months that the department treated her differently as soon as she was hired.

Officers and administration treated her differently from male recruits, the lawsuit says, “telling her she needed to be quieter than men, but also that she needed to prove herself by ‘getting in a bigger fight’ than her male colleagues.”

Then, after higher-ranking male officers engaged in sexual conduct with McIntyre, the department interrogated and fired her but “did not even discipline the men,” the complaints adds.

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McIntyre found out over the summer that former chief Richard Lewis recommended the Lane County District Attorney’s Office place her on the county’s Brady List, indicating she’s not qualified to testify in a trial, and that DA Patty Perlow added her to the list, the lawsuit adds.

“They (individual defendants and the union) worked together to prevent Ms. McIntyre from any career in law enforcement by placing her on the Lane County District Attorney’s Office Brady List because of statements they allege she made regarding private, off-duty sexual conduct of male officers at Defendant SPD,” the legal complaint reads.

Meredith Holley, who represents McIntyre, said the experience has had a “pretty severe impact on her life” and added she hasn’t been able to find another job in law enforcement.

“She doesn't live in the state right now. She's thinking about permanently moving away because of all of this,” Holley said. “I think it's been a life-changing experience for her, and none of it needed to result in all of this.”

The lawsuit names the police department, Lewis, Perlow, Det. Robert Weaver, Lt. Thomas Rappe and the Springfield Police Association as defendants and makes 16 claims, including allegations of a hostile work environment and violations of equal protection and due process rights.

The Register-Guard wasn’t immediately able to reach the city or the police union.

Perlow declined to comment.

Told to 'get in a bigger fight'

McIntyre was inspired to become a police officer by listening to “Small Town Dicks,” which features a current and former SPD officer, and was 26 when the department recruited her in August 2020. She was the only woman in her training class, the lawsuit says.

Officers quickly started telling McIntyre she had to “fit the mold of a Springfield Police Officer” and learned the department “has a reputation for excessive force and fighting,” the complaint reads. They also told her women had to “get in a bigger fight than men to prove they can be trusted as backup,” the lawsuit adds.

*For subscribers* Former Springfield police recruit alleges hostile work environment; city is investigating

*For subscribers* Springfield received complaint from state about chief, other officers before putting Lewis on leave

McIntyre sometimes saw another female officer on shift but otherwise worked with only men, according to the lawsuit.

In her first few months of training, the complaint reads, McIntyre had other negative experiences related to the department, including:

  • The chief’s assistant telling her she was “too flirtatious” and “should tone it down”

  • A sergeant reiterating that she had to “get in a bigger fight than men”

  • Her supervisor being “very volatile” and “yelling at her and demeaning her differently than her male counterparts.” He also refused to leave the triage room while she was answering personal medical questions after she was injured at work

  • An older training officer who was “known for being a misogynistic jerk” turning his chair to face away from her and ignoring her during lunch

  • A sergeant accusing her of “lack of force” in an alteration

Sergeant said they weren't in a relationship

About a month after she started with the department, Weaver invited her back to his home for special firearms training, the lawsuit says, and initiated sex after the training. He texted her later that night that he was “just a coworker,” not her superior, the complaint adds.

A few days later, McIntyre told Weaver she didn’t want to have sex with him again, the lawsuit says. She later learned he was bragging about having sex with her, the lawsuit adds, which humiliated her and made her worry about her reputation in the department.

In November 2020, McIntyre had sex with Sgt. David Grice, the lawsuit says, but he told her they weren’t in a relationship and he didn’t want to be in one.

City policy defines a workplace romance as “a relationship that occurs between two members of an organization where sexual attraction is present, affection is communicated, and both members recognize the relationship to be something more than just professional and platonic.”

The city's policy does not prohibit romantic relationships between colleagues at the same level as long as they don't publicly display affection, have excessive personal conversations or otherwise act in a way that would distract others or offend a reasonable person.

Policy does prohibit romantic relationships between an employee and a person with indirect or direct supervision over them. It requires the supervising employee to report if they do become romantically involved.

As far as McIntyre and Holley know, neither man reported his sexual encounter with her.

Lieutenant accused her of being 'sexually aggressive'

Days after she had sex with Grice, Lt. Rappe told McIntyre she was under investigation for having an inappropriate relationship with Grice, and she “truthfully told him, ‘I do not have a relationship with Sgt. Grice,’ ” the complaint reads.

Two days later, Rappe, Lt. George Crolly and Officer Robert Conrad, who serves as president of the Springfield Police Association, questioned McIntyre. All three had seen nude photos of her, the lawsuit says, either because Weaver showed them or because they saw them after searching and seizing Grice’s phone.

Rappe asked McIntyre for “personal details about her sexual interactions” with Grice, the complaint says, and accused her of being “sexually ‘aggressive.’ ”

The next day, Rappe accused McIntyre of untruthfulness because she didn’t agree she was in an inappropriate relationship with Grice, the lawsuit says, and gave her a memorandum telling her she was under investigation for misconduct.

He suspended her from duty a few days later, the lawsuit says, then Lewis told her on Dec. 2, 2020, that she was fired for saying she wasn’t in a relationship with Grice.

“I think they're very committed to the idea that her saying she was not in a relationship was a lie,” Holley said. “She does not believe that was a lie.”

Grice told McIntyre the lieutenants took his phone to review texts and photos, the lawsuit says, but “never asked him whether he was in a ‘relationship’ ” with her.

Union 'interfered with attempts to discipline'

Since she was fired, McIntyre has learned more humiliating things.

One officer told her that employees referred to her as “the ‘bicycle recruit,’ which he says is a sexually derogatory statement that officers could ‘take a ride’ on her,” the lawsuit says, and that same officer has told her male officers can be sexually active but female officers have to be “pure.”

Another officer told her an SPD detective had made a card showing Grice and Weaver as “Eskimo brothers,” a derogatory term referring to two men who have had sex with the same woman, and was passing the card around the department, according to the lawsuit.

Yet another officer told McIntyre that Weaver had created a fake phone account and pretended to be her while texting an officer a nude photo of her torso, the complaint reads.

The department has said Weaver admitted to showing her nude photos to other officers and impersonating her, the lawsuit says, but he hasn’t been disciplined.

McIntyre and Holley allege the union has “interfered with attempts to discipline” Weaver.

In June, McIntyre learned Lewis had recommended Perlow place her on the Lane County District Attorney’s Office Brady List and that Perlow added her.

The Brady List refers to the Brady Disclosure, which requires all officers found to have lied in an official capacity to be put on a list or otherwise flagged, so when they are involved in any court cases that information is disclosed to defendants and attorneys. Essentially, it makes their testimony less than desirable in a case.

Despite not having a chance to formally respond or refute her placement on the list, the lawsuit says, being on the Brady List “prevents (McIntyre) from being hired as a law enforcement officer in the future.”

Requesting order to remove from Brady List

Holley called that an “extreme” action and said while McIntyre is still passionate about policing, she hasn’t been able to find another job in law enforcement.

“Ms. McIntyre loved training as a police officer and dreams of going into law enforcement again, but knows that she likely will not be able to do, especially if she continues to be Brady listed,” the lawsuit says.

She’s also lost wages and faced emotional and mental trauma, the complaint reads, and has “feared for her life, knowing that if she is in danger and needs police assistance, she may not be able to call (Springfield police) to respond.”

The lawsuit makes 16 claims:

  • Two claims of hostile work environment, one claim of equal protection violation and one claim of discrimination in public accommodation against the police department

  • One claim each of aiding and abetting against Weaver, Rappe and Lewis

  • Additional claims of dissemination of intimate images and impersonation against Weaver

  • Claims that Rappe and Lewis each violated her rights to free speech and intimate association

  • Sex discrimination in labor organization and aiding and abetting claims against the police union

  • A Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Lewis and Perlow

A jury should decide the amount of damages, if appropriate, the lawsuit says.

McIntyre is requesting an injunctive order requiring Perlow to remove her from the Brady List.

This story will be updated once officials respond to requests for comment

Contact city government watchdog Megan Banta at mbanta@registerguard.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.

McIntyre v SPD Et Al by Megan on Scribd

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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Former Springfield police recruit sues department, officers, DA

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