US marshal claims he was fired for defending lesbian colleague from disgusting harassment
A US Marshal says he was fired just 70 days before retirement because he stood up for a lesbian colleague who was facing disgusting harassment at work.
The woman, deputy US marshal Dawn Mahoney, says male officers relentlessly bullied her because of her sexuality, and at one point even urinated in the cookie jar on her desk.
On another occasion a colleague allegedly gazed at her body and said “Look at you, you sexy bitch,” before grabbing her waist as she walked past him.
“It was a free-for-all of abuse,” she said, and her supervisors would often laugh at the harassment, according to The Daily Beast.
In 2015 Mahoney went to supervisory deputy US marshal Bobby Ledogar for help, telling him the harassment had grown so bad she feared for her safety and believed it could be potentially dangerous in the field.
Ledogar escalated the issue up the chain of command and tried to start an internal investigation – and that’s when he claims he began to face reprisal.
“To have this exposed, that you had US Marshals and local police officers sexually harassing, assaulting, bullying, degrading and mocking a female US Marshal who is a lesbian, that’s a nice big black eye against the government,” Ledogar told The Daily Beast.
“And it’s going to come out that one supervisor defended her, and the investigation of the female’s initial complaints was done by the same people she did a complaint against? You didn’t even let internal affairs do it? You investigate yourself? We’ve all seen a history of how that works out.”
Ledogar’s appeal letter notes that one of the investigators was a close friend of a supervisor on Mahoney’s task force, one of the same people who was “accused of having condoned the very misconduct being investigated.”
The agency ultimately closed the inquiry raised by the lesbian officer without taking action, claiming it found her accusations “unsubstantiated”.
Ledogar says that after he defended Mahoney, the US marshals service initiated four internal affairs investigations against him in four years – which his attorneys referred to as “fishing expeditions”.
One of those probes led to his termination last year, when he was just a few months away from retirement.
He’s now fighting for his pension and appealing his termination, which he claims was retaliation for exposing the harassment of his subordinate.
“This is a classic example of retaliation for protected activities,” Ledogar’s lawyer told The Daily Beast.
“Not only did headquarters in Washington punish Bobby for standing up for a fellow employee who clearly was being harassed and discriminated against based on her gender and sexual orientation, but it sent a clear message to other Marshal Service employees that they could expect the same treatment if they, too, rocked the boat and took actions that could embarrass headquarters.”
The US Marshals Service was not willing to comment on the case, citing privacy concerns.