NHP’s top-ranked female trooper sues, claiming harassment
December 7, 2006
The Nevada Highway Patrol’s top female trooper has filed a sexual harassment suit in U.S. District Court in Reno.
Jacquelyn Sandage, currently a captain assigned to the NHP Training Division, first made the allegations against Colonel David Hosmer last summer. As a result, he resigned as head of NHP.
Sandage, the first woman to achieve the ranks of lieutenant and then captain with NHP, filed the federal harassment suit Nov. 20 demanding $500,000 damages. The complaint charges Hosmer and other command officers contributed to and permitted a “sexually hostile work environment,” which included calling her names ranging from “The Princess” to unprintable insults. She claims in the suit Hosmer and others made numerous sexual and obscene comments in the presence of other NHP employees, including telling her at one point: “I know why I don’t like that new jacket – I can’t see your ass.”
She charges another NHP command officer “leered” at her and said she looked good in uniform. And she said someone put a McDonald’s restaurant application in her in-box one day.
When she complained about those incidents as well as crude remarks by troopers about her, the complaint says Public Safety Director George Togliatti told her she should “suck it up a little” and said some of her complaints were “blown out of proportion.”
Hosmer resigned in June and Maj. Robert Wideman, chief of the northern command, was demoted to captain after an investigation by a team of consultants who specialize in such cases.
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Her lawsuit charges the atmosphere hasn’t changed and that harassment of female employees continues within NHP.
The suit by attorney Mark Mausert of Reno seeks not only cash damages from the state but an injunction “to compel the defendant to actually enforce a reasonable policy against sexual harassment.”
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.