Judge OKs retaliation suit by ex-police chief demoted after reporting cop’s sex abuse photos
A former police chief who reported another officer for photographing the sexual abuse an unconscious woman has a case for retaliation, a federal judge ruled.
Chief Jeff Tayoun of Pittstown, Pennsylvania, police found 46 photos taken by Officer Robert Semyon on a department computer in October 2009 that showed a passed-out nude woman, reported Courthouse News.
In four of the images, the unconscious woman’s anus and vagina were penetrated.
Tayoun immediately asked then-Mayor Donna Connors to suspend the officer, and the police chief met with City Council members and had the computer analyzed by the State Police Crime Lab.
The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office opened a criminal investigation, and Samyon ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault and other charges.
He was sentenced to a year in prison.
Tayoun was then demoted from his position as chief of police, and he believed it was retaliation for turning in the officer – who was friends with the city’s new mayor, Jason Klush.
But Klush claims he believed the department was in need of change, and he said his position allowed him to hire a new police chief at will.
Tayoun said the mayor and other officials still required him to complete daily activity logs and assigned him to Semyon’s former locker – which still contained some of the former officer’s personal property.
The former chief said other officers were barred from donating sick time to him, as they had in the past, and he claims someone killed the fish he kept in a tank in his office.
Tayoun sued Klush for retaliation, and a federal judge ruled his case could continue because the former chief had spoken out on a matter of public concern.
“Tayoun had no personal interest in his speech aside from his interest as a member of the public in ensuring that officers of the law are themselves law abiding,” ruled U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann.
The judge ruled that some material facts remain in dispute, so a jury should decide the case.
[Image: Male Judge In Front Of Mallet Holding Documents via Shutterstock]