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GREENVILLE, PA. State probes charge of sexual harassment



Published: Tue, February 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The subject of the investigation has been suspended with pay since December.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

GREENVILLE, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has picked up the investigation of a sexual harassment allegation against a borough police officer.

James Epstein, Mercer County district attorney, asked the state attorney general's office to take over the probe Jan. 31, explaining that his office completed its look at the case and wants the state to review the matter to avoid any suggestion of a conflict of interest.

Epstein said he and other members of his office have worked closely on cases in the past with the officer involved in the investigation.

The officer, who hasn't been publicly identified, has been on paid suspension since mid-December.

Epstein said Monday the attorney general's office notified him that it is taking over the case for evaluation and disposition.

Results: Epstein said his investigation showed the officer may have committed criminal harassment of up to five people and he wants the attorney general to review those findings.

He said he sent a summary of his investigation to the attorney general's office along with possible charges that could be filed.

The officer under investigation has denied any wrongdoing, Epstein said.

Complainants: Two Greenville police dispatchers lodged complaints against the officer in November and have refused to return to work until the matter is resolved. Epstein said one of the complainants in the current case also had filed a sexual harassment complaint against the same officer five years ago.

An investigation at that time failed to turn up sufficient evidence to file any charges against the officer, Epstein said.

The latest probe looks at allegations of improper conduct on the part of several officers, but only one officer was being investigated regarding criminal conduct, Epstein said.




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