'The Sheriff’s Office is attempting to intimidate and retaliate against me for bringing to light discriminatory, harassing, false statements by a ranking member of Sheriff’s Department' - former Bernlillo Deputy Chief Jessica Tyler
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
Jessica Tyler, head of the Albuquerque Police Department’s training academy, said Thursday that the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office efforts to revoke her law enforcement license are attempts at retaliateion to discredit her because she filed sexual harassment complaints against a BCSO lieutenant.
That lieutenant, Broderick Sharp, was spreading rumors around BCSO about how he had had sex with her, Tyler’s complaints against Sharp said.
And Tyler said that Sheriff Manny Gonzales first raised issues about a reserve deputy training academy in March — an academy that cost BCSO $25,000 and that Gonzales said he had never approved — seven weeks after the training had begun. One of the participants in the academy was Larry Allen, Gonzales’ then-newly appointed undersheriff. He participated in the academy because his law enforcement license had lapsed years before, and he needed the academy to regain his certification, Tyler said, adding, that “Sheriff Gonzales was aware of the academy because it had been included in a transition report given to him in December 2014.”
“The Sheriff’s Office is attempting to intimidate and retaliate against me for bringing to light discriminatory, harassing, false statements by a ranking member of Sheriff’s Department,” Tyler said in a statement released to the media Thursday afternoon. “These retaliatory acts are also an attempt to discredit my character in the wake of Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) claims which I have pending against the Sheriff’s Office.”
Tyler said she filed her first harassment complaint with Bernalillo County against BCSO Lt. Broderick Sharp in January. In May she filed a complaint against Sharp with the Human Rights Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. “During the previous two years, I received communications from other BCSO officers that Lt. Broderick Sharp was making false, lewd, sexually harassing statements about me including that he had sex with me and he [Sharp] described to other BCSO officers false details of explicit sexual acts he engaged in with me,” Tyler’s Human Rights Bureau complaint said.
“I had reported several times to my immediate supervisors, complaints and objections to Lt. Broderick Sharp’s sexually harassing conduct toward me by spreading false information about sexual relations with me throughout the department. My supervisors did not take any corrective action and I made every effort to avoid any contact and interactions with Lt. Sharp.”
The complaint continued: “On Dec. 3, 2014, I was leaving work and riding the elevator down when Lt. Sharp also took the elevator. He attempted to initiate a conversation and I told him I did not want to talk. As I left the elevator to my car, he followed me and I told him that I had been informed by several people of the false statements he was making about sexual relations with me and he admitted that he said, ‘I would let her [me] ****my ****.”
Tyler’s complaint also said that Gonzales began to retaliate against her after she filed her initial complaint against Sharp. “Since learning of my sexual harassment complaining, Respondent Gonzales and other administrative staff began to exclude me from closed-door meetings with other Chief Deputies [Both male] and subordinates within my chain of command have been encouraged to communicate directly with the undersheriff, my immediate supervisor, which is outside the chair of command, which undermines my supervisory authority,” the complaint said.
In her statement to the media, Tyler said she became concerned about things at the BCSO when Gonzales wanted to make Sharp head of the department’s Internal Affairs division. “I was concerned because I knew he had made false and damaging personal comments of a sexual nature about me to others and I felt that if he was placed into this position, it would send a message to the employees of the Sheriff’s Department that this type of behavior was not only tolerated but condoned,” Tyler’s statement said.
Tyler said that her initial complaint against Sharp was sustained in May and that her working conditions continued to deteriorate. Her attorney, J. Edward Hollington, advised her to file a complaint against the department with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, she added.
“It is evident the Sheriff has been working to build a case to discredit me and question my integrity since I filed my sexual harassment charge in January,” Tyler’s statement said. “The retaliation against me continued to escalate. In May 2015, I was notified that I would be a witness in an Internal Affairs Investigation against Matt Thomas, the captain who I supervised at the time the Reserve Academy began. I knew that this was an effort to eventually target me.”
Gonzales eventually filed an IA investigation against Tyler and he has moved to revoke her law enforcement license with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. ABQ Free Press made a public records request for that LEA 90 form from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. The department responded by emailing the newspaper an entirely redacted document.
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