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Gettysburg police officer accused of sexual harassment, Chief ignored complaints

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The only full-time Gettysburg Police Department female police officer has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on formal charges of sexual harassment.

Officer Brandi Courtesis, of Hanover, filed charges Tuesday, Feb. 14 within the U.S. Middle District Court. Courtesis, who began working for the department on June 30, 2013, alleges that a department officer began harassing her in October 2015. She disclosed, in court documents, that they had briefly engaged in a personal relationship, which ended in June 2014. She is seeking more than $100,000 in damages.

Prior to her hire, she alleges that when she was interviewed, she was asked personal questions, such as, if she intended to have more children, or if she could handle sexual jokes. Courtesis claims the department’s culture accepted commonplace sexual undertones.

Harassment began after Courtesis said her brief relationship with the officer ended. She said she reported his inappropriate behavior to her supervisors.

His behavior included, making lewd comments about women, talking about sex acts he performed with them, referencing his penis size in conversation, and mentioning how many women with whom he had sex. Neither Chief of Police Joe Dougherty, nor Sgt. Larry Weikert, she said, took her complaints seriously. Her steps to formally take action against the officer within Gettysburg Borough’s human resources department also were not supported, she said.

In his attempts to disrupt her work by inappropriately moaning in the background while she made phone calls, Weikert admitted he heard him, too, court documents show. He said he found his behavior to be offensive, but he also continued to ignore Courtesis.

A video was recorded of Courtesis, when the officer decided to wear a body camera in December 2015, in which he shared it to Gettysburg Police Department’s computers and servers. Courtesis said harassment hasn’t ended, which is why she filed her complaint without support from both the department and borough officials.