Police accused of homophobia after investigating ‘promiscuous’ gay cops because of their ‘loose morals’
Gay police officers have been investigated for drug use based on a complaint that they were “promiscuous” and had “loose morals,” a court has heard.
The police officers – Chris Sheehy, Steven Rapisarda, Shane Housego and former officer Christian McDonald – want compensation and an apology from New South Wales Police.
They have told the court in Sydney that the complaint – and therefore the investigation – was false and homophobic.
The six-month-long investigation included drug testing for the four men, all of whom were cleared of taking drugs.
Brett Eurell, the men’s counsel, read from the partially redacted complaint.
He told the court it accused the officers of being “notorious for their promiscuity”.
The complaint also noted that “drug use is thought to be fundamental in such indiscriminate sexual encounters,” he said.
“They frequent the Stonewall Hotel,” Eurell read.
“Stonewall is a gay venue.
“At best it is guilt by association based upon the anecdotal group’s loose morals and reckless behaviours.”
This complaint and the ensuing investigation in 2015 was the result of the homophobic culture which was fostered by senior management at Newtown Police Station, the men said.
The identity of the complaint’s author has not yet been revealed, but the court heard that it was made by a superior officer.
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The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that the name of the complaint’s author would be revealed at a later date.
JJ Fernon SC, representing the police, rejected claims the complaint was intended to be malicious.
He said it was “just a document that reasonable people can interpret”.
The men’s allegations of discrimination based on their sexuality would, if proven, contradict the police’s stated approach to its LGBT people.
The latest policy document speaks of “a commitment to NSW Police Force employees to be inclusive of diverse sexuality, gender and intersex status, thereby creating a more harmonious workplace.”