SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A veteran San Diego police detective is suing the department and four members of the force, claiming male detectives created a hostile work environment by making offensive sexual comments and slurs and posting photos of men and women in suggestive poses, court papers show.
Deborah W. Burger, a 22-year veteran of the department, alleging sexual harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, gender and age discrimination and retaliation.
Burger says that during her first four years in the sex-crimes unit, where she began working in 2005, everyone followed SDPD personnel policies. Burger, then 57, noticed a change in March 2009, when Lt. Rick O'Hanlon and Sgt. Dan Cerar took over supervision, according to her court papers.
O'Hanlon and Cerar are named as individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed last Thursday, along with two detectives, Carl Hershman and Edward Fletes.
The San Diego Police Department had no comment on the lawsuit.
Gina Coburn, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney's Office, said it would be providing a defense and advising the City Council on the matter.
Among other things, Burger claims that Cerar and other male detectives used derogatory terms when referring to sexual assault victims.
Two male detectives covered their cubicles with inappropriate sexual photos, and, when told to take them down after Burger complained, harassed her, according to her lawsuit.
Burger also claims that male detectives were treated better than their female counterparts, and that when she complained to SDPD internal affairs, she was harassed and endured retaliation.