Published: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 12:25 PM EST
A retired state police trooper is suing the department and three of his former superiors, contending that they retaliated against him for initiating an investigation into the conduct of another trooper at the Indiana barracks.
Lt. James Fulmer, the former Troop A crimes section commander, alleges in the lawsuit that he was demoted and later given a poor job performance evaluation because of the investigation, which was started after Fulmer received a sexual harassment complaint about the trooper.
(Download the full 18-page document from The Indiana Gazette Online.)
Headquartered in Greensburg, Troop A is made up of stations in Indiana, Westmoreland, Cambria and Somerset counties. As crimes section commander, Fulmer oversaw criminal investigations throughout the four counties.
Fulmer filed the civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. In addition to the Pennsylvania State Police, it names Troop A commander Capt. Harvey Cole Jr. and retired Maj. Frank Monaco, a former area commander. Monaco retired from the state police in July 2007 and took a job as police chief of Plum Borough in Allegheny County.
The lawsuit also names former state police commissioner Col. Jeffrey B. Miller, who left the department in August for a job as the NFL’s director of strategic security.
In the lawsuit Fulmer states he was demoted from crimes section commander to a “staff position” on March 28, 2007. He said the news was given to him over the phone on a day off.
About four months following the demotion, on July 23, 2007, Fulmer received an unfavorable job evaluation, the first he had received in his 25 years of service with the state police, according to the lawsuit.
However, he said the evaluation was rescinded and replaced with a positive evaluation, one that gave him the highest possible rating, after he and a union representative appealed.
Fulmer said the demotion and critical evaluation were intended to punish him for the investigation, which focused on Sgt. George Emigh, a crimes section supervisor at the Indiana station.
According to Fulmer’s lawsuit, an unidentified woman who worked for the state filed a complaint with Fulmer in June 2006, saying that Emigh had touched her “sexually” during a state police function and that he was continuing “to cause her problems.”
Fulmer said that as required under state police procedure, he documented the complaint and sent it up administrative channels.
According to the lawsuit, Emigh was eventually disciplined internally, but it does not specify how. Emigh has retired from the state police and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Fulmer said he believes Cole and Monaco were trying to protect Emigh and the department’s reputation and that they were unhappy about unfavorable statements Fulmer had given to internal affairs investigators during the investigation about their conduct.
He also said he believes that Miller knew what was going on but didn’t do anything to stop it.
Fulmer said that before the woman’s complaint, Monaco told Fulmer that Emigh was “the best crime sergeant in the state.” After the investigation started, Fulmer said Monaco called him a “rat fink” for answering an internal affairs investigator’s questions about a conversation between Fulmer and Monaco.
Fulmer is seeking compensation for lost income and benefits, embarrassment and ill effects on his health. He also is seeking court costs and punitive damages.
Fulmer said the “stress and anguish” of working for the state police was affecting his health and forced him to retire in August, one month short of his 25th anniversary.
Jack Lewis, a spokesman for the state police, declined comment Tuesday.