Two female officers in the Philadelphia Police Department have alleged that Chief Inspector Carl Holmes sexually harassed them.

Michele Vandegrift, a detective who has been on the force for 13 years, filed a lawsuit last summer, alleging that Holmes had made numerous sexual comments to her, and had actually sexually assaulted her in 2007. Vandegrift had filed a complaint with the EEOC in 2014, seeking a right to sue letter.

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In her complaint, Vandegrift also alleged that she was the victim of retaliation by the city of Philadelphia, claiming that she was subjected to a number of acts that constituted punishment:

  • She was not assigned any cases that would qualify her for overtime
  • She was reassigned to “Southwest Detectives,” a unit that most officers regard as punishment
  • She was reprimanded for mocking a colleague on Facebook

Vandegrift also contends that, once she was transferred to Southwest, her former supervisors told personnel in the Southwest to “watch what they say around her,” creating a climate where her colleagues were encouraged not to trust her.

Vandegrift is not the first female officer to accuse Holmes of sexual assault. Officer Christina Hayburn told investigators in 2008 that the Chief Inspector had sexually assaulted her in his police car and two witnesses corroborated Hayburn’s allegations. Holmes was demoted by then-commissioner Charles Ramsey, but challenged the demotion and was reinstated. He became Chief Inspector in 2012.

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