LIHUE » An assistant police chief says the Kauai Police Department retaliated against him after he reported a fellow officer’s complaint of sexual discrimination.
The assistant chief, a 20-year veteran of the department, filed a lawsuit against the department and its leaders Monday.
Mark Begley, 47, has been harassed, intimidated and retaliated against since making the report in 2011, attorney Lyle Hosoda said in a statement to The Garden Island. Begley’s lawsuit names the department, Chief Darryl Perry, Kauai County and two other assistant chiefs as defendants.
“Assistant Chief Begley did what he was trained to do and followed procedures by making a formal report when a female police officer made a discrimination and hostile work environment complaint against another assistant chief,” Hosoda said.
Spokeswoman Sarah Blane said the county had not been formally served with the complaint as of Tuesday and declined to comment on pending litigation.
Begley was working as a police inspector in 2011 when he was told that Assistant Chief Roy Asher made “an inappropriate gesture and comment to a subordinate female officer” who had previously requested a transfer to a higher-paying position, according to the lawsuit. Begley says Asher denied the request because of a complaint the female officer made against him.
Begley reported the situation to Perry, who did not authorize an investigation, according to the lawsuit. Begley’s complaint says Asher then sent out an email with false and disparaging information about Begley.
Perry ignored the retaliation until Begley called a meeting with the deputy county attorney, according to Begley’s complaint. The chief then authorized an investigation, according to the lawsuit.
The female officer filed a formal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the department. Perry was placed on administrative leave while Mayor Bernard Caravalho Jr.’s office investigated the woman’s complaints, according to reports.
Begley has been on medical leave since 2012 and claims the county tried to terminate his employment while he was out.
The EEOC in 2014 found reasonable cause to believe Begley was subjected to retaliation and that the police department violated civil rights statutes, according to an EEOC letter attached to the lawsuit.
Another letter attached to the lawsuit says the Department of Justice won’t file a suit on Begley’s behalf. A representative from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division was not immediately available for comment.
A call to the State of Hawaii Police Officers Union President Tenari Ma’afala was not immediately returned.