Gay police officer suing after accusations of being a paedophile for coming out to teens in youth programme
After fellow police officers allegedly accused him of paedophilia after he came out, a gay police officer is now suing his department as well as the city of Louisville, US.
The Louisville Metro Police Department officer John Burgraff is claiming that he was passed on a promotion because of these allegations, he claimed according to WDRB.
According to the claim, Burgraff’s commanding officers made the accusations when he came out to teens during a police youth programme in 2017.
Commander claims officer was ‘looking lustfully’ at teens, lawsuit alleges.
The gay police officer told the teens he was the department’s LGBT+ liaison officer to the Youth Police Advisory Committee.
But the next day, Burgaff’s commanding officer lieutenant Phil Russell instructed sergeant Corey Robinson to tell Burgraff “his remarks were not appropriate for a youth event”.
Robinson added that Burgaff had been “looking lustfully or suggestively at a boy in the audience”, according to the suit.
Moreover, Robinson spoke to two other officers about the request – lieutenant Jill Hume and sergeant Rob Owen – who both suggested he disregard the order.
As a result, Burgraff reported Russells comments to the chief’s office, opening an investigation.
A police major said comments weren’t ‘that bad’.
The lawsuit continued that Burgraff went on vacation to avoid the situation, Returning to work January 2018.
He then voiced concerns about reporting to the commander to major Andrea Brown, but she explained that she had talked to others and told him that what Russell had said “was not that bad”.
Moreover, the suit alleged that Burgaff faced disciplinary charges for coming out to the teens, but only discovered this after a reporter informed him.
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Burgaff also claimed that the investigation and disciplinary charges resulted in him being passed over for promotion.
Russell was moved to the chief’s office and remained commander of the Community Police Unit.
He was eventually transferred to the Training Unit.
The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
LMPD press officers were unable to provide comment due to it being ongoing litigation, the WDRB reported.
Furthermore, the claim eclipses a similar case this year, when a police officer was told to “tone down his gayness” to get a promotion.