City Planning to Appeal Decision in Sexual Discrimination Case Involving the Police Department

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Charlie Breitrose Watertown Police Station

The City of Watertown will be appealing the verdict and award of a Middlesex Superior Court jury that ruled in favor of a former Watertown Police detective who sued for sexual discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

On Thursday, the jury ruled in favor of Kathleen Donohue on both matters, and awarded her $4.3 million in back pay, future earnings, and damages, including $1 million in punitive damages.

The City disagreed with the jury’s decision, said Doug Louison of Louison, Costello, Condon and Pfaff, one of Watertown’s attorneys in the case.

“I think we’re looking at the case very closely again right now,” Louison said. “We strongly disagree with the jury’s conclusion. I think it does not reflect the quality and caliber and respect that exists in the Watertown Police Department for all of the employees who are there.”

Louison said he believed the City and the Police showed in testimony that they do not tolerate discrimination or retaliation, and he noted that Donohue had “many opportunities to advance and thrive within the Police Department.”

Post verdict motions will be filed within the next week, Louison said, and they plan to appeal the decision. That will be considered by the Court of Appeals, he said, which could take a number of steps, including reversing the decision, remand (return) the case to the Superior Court, uphold the decision, or a combination of those.

8 thoughts on “City Planning to Appeal Decision in Sexual Discrimination Case Involving the Police Department

  1. And now we will be hiring a new chief from within the department. That person was either complicit and allowed the discrimination and harassment to continue, or participated in it. Or, that man (the only choices are men) was completely oblivious, in a job that requires being observant.

    And we wonder why people don’t trust the police.

    • Is that Speculation on your part ?
      Or do you have first hand knowledge ??
      If not That is unfair to the officers who have dedicated themselves to the town and the department ….

      • I gave three options. One of those options is true.

        The city is required to “hire from within” unless there is a reasonable reason not to do so. In my opinion, the fact that one of those options is true is a reasonable reason.

  2. I wonder who decided that this verdict should be appealed. Why is our city defending the indefensible?
    Communities that face their problems of discrimination and harassment, are able to work together to have a city that works harmoniously for all and can then attract and retain the best talent.
    If there were police officers who were aware of the harassment and discrimination and disagreed with the coverup, they certainly would risk their jobs if they came forward. So our city is deprived of their leadership.

    I urge others to let our City Manager and City Councilors and School Committee and School Administrators know-it’s time to stop defending the indefensible and participating in any past or present cover ups. They can lead the way to owning and solving our problems when they emerge.

  3. I would like to know where the money is coming from to pay for this lawsuit. It should not come from the taxpayers. The people who caused this lawsuit should pay it.

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