Ky. Cop Says He Was Fired, Sexually Harassed Because He’s Gay
A police officer from Kentucky says he was harassed and discriminated against after it was discovered by his coworkers that he is gay, USA Today reports.
Kile Nave says when he started working for the Audubon Park Police Department (Audubon is a suburb of Louisville) in April 2009 he was constantly harassed by Deputy Chief Ron Jones, who found out he was gay in a background investigation. Nave alleges Jones called him derogatory names, told a gay joke in front of him on the firing range and told other officers that Nave went on medical leave because of injuries he suffered after he had sex with his partner, which is untrue, court records say, according to USA Today.
After Nave complained about Jones' alleged behavior, Jones apparently retaliated, denying the police officer's vacation request, making him work more weekends than typical and refusing to replace his police shoe, which had a large hole in it.
When Nave complained to Chief Jeff Cox, Cox did not investigate Jones but instead investigated Nave and two weeks later, Nave was fired.
"I am just one person, but the sea of change must start somewhere," Nave told reporters Thursday, USA Today reports. "The bullying and bigoted behavior must stop, and it must stop now."
Nave filed a lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court a complaint with the Louisville Human Relations Commission.
An Oct. 3 letter by Nave's lawyer and the Fairness Campaign sent a letter to Audubon Park's lawyer that said Nave was harassed and fired because he is "a gay man who complained about the way he was treated." The letter goes on to say that Nave's grievances were ignored and not addressed by the proper officials, and he was unfairly fired. According to statements made by the officer's coworkers, Nave's performance as a cop was "exemplary," USA Today reports.
The police department's attorney, Jeff Vaughn, said the city denies the allegations made by Nave and is working to dismiss the lawsuit, calling the findings "preliminary" based on a "limited investigation."
Both Jones and Cox have left the Audubon Park Police Department, however. But Vaughn would not say if they were fired or resigned - or if their leaving has anything to do with Nave's lawsuit.
Though the letter cannot be released until the case is finished, it says that there was a proposed conciliation agreement that would make Nave "whole." The lawyers in the case would not discuss the proposed settlement, USA Today reports.
When Nave spoke with reporters, he thanked God, his partner and their son, saying he has been unemployed for over a year and cannot find a job as a police officer, despite sending out several applications.
According to his lawsuit, three officers testified at his termination hearing. They said Jones made a number of harassing remarks and a fourth coworker said that Jones made a derogatory joke in front of Nave, who asked him to stop.
Nave says he's been in law enforcement for two decades and worked seven years as police chief in his hometown of Marshall, Ill. He later moved to Louisville and met his partner, Will Smith. The couple tied the knot last year in Las Vegas.