Township policeman placed on leave after complaints by fellow officers

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Madison Township Police Captain James Dean is on two weeks administrative leave following allegations he made sexual and racial comments and gestures as well as created a hostile workplace.

On Sept. 7, the Madison Township trustees approved a resolution filing written charges against Dean.

The four charges against Dean include intentionally using inappropriate language and encouraging similar actions with others, creating a hostile work environment, not taking steps to stop actions contributing to a hostile work environment and a failure in leadership and following township laws.

The charges stem from written complaints against Dean filed by Sgt. Don Skinner and Officer Jacob Short.

Lawyers presented witnesses and supporting documentation at a public pre-disciplinary hearing regarding the allegations on Oct. 23.

At the hearing, attorney Christine Corl questioned case investigator Erica Probst about the allegations.

“Complaints, as filed, weren’t just for sexual harassment, but went well beyond that,” said Probst. “There were two complaints from two employees. I was hired to determine if facts in the complaints could be substantiated.”

Probst interviewed Skinner and Short as well as Dean and Chief Ken Braden, who is also under investigation on allegations that he harbors an atmosphere of hostility and retaliation. Probst also interviewed township administrator Susan Brobst, police department staff members and two more police officers.

“During my interviews, it was confirmed that multiple inappropriate sexually explicit statements regarding females, sexual intercourse and women have been made by multiple employees,” Probst wrote in her investigation summary. “(Skinner’s) charge with respect to the inappropriate and potentially sexually hostile environment has been substantiated.”

However, after interviewing Short regarding his allegations of Dean’s aggressive behavior toward him and reviewing his supporting documentation, Probst wrote in her investigation summary she believes Short’s claims were not substantiated.

When Braden was called as a witness, he described Dean as “very dedicated, precise and good with people” and stated he was not present when Dean allegedly made inappropriate comments about Brobst.

Police Department administrative assistance Teri Miller—who was cited in Probst’s investigation as being on the receiving end of Dean’s alleged inappropriate comments and gestures—interacts with the captain on a daily basis.

“He’s always been professional,” said Miller, who said she’s never seen or heard Dean make comments or gestures of a sexual or racial nature. When previously interviewed, Miller said she was never asked by Probst about specific sexual comments.

During his testimony, Dean said he has never received a poor performance evaluation in his career and was rated highly effective or exceptional in several areas on his latest evaluation.

Dean claimed Probst did not go over specific allegations and incidents when she interviewed him during the investigation. He told the trustees and his legal representative Jaclyn R. Tipton he was disappointed after reading the investigator’s report and hearing the allegations in the complaints.

“I’m shocked, heartbroken and disappointed in the extreme,” said Dean. “This has created a lot of stress in my personal life.”

Tipton said, “What we have is a half-done investigation. For all we know, those that made those allegations are not credible. What we do know is more people could have been interviewed. More people should have been interviewed.”

Skinner and Short were not called to testify in person at the Oct. 23 hearing.

According to Brobst, the trustees voted to continue paid administrative leave for Dean for not more than 14 days pending a disciplinary decision.

According to Brobst, a  pre-disciplinary hearing  for Braden is scheduled for the next regular trustee meeting, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. in closed session.

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. You should show more respect towards Madision Township Police Chief Braden . You once refered to him as Captain , and as Braden . He carries the rank of Chief and should be showed the respect of that rank. The same should go for Captain Dean as far as i know he still holds the rank of Captain and should be addressed as such

  2. I know both Officers,
    They are respectful and care to needs of community.
    Chief Braden is a good man and should be treated with the RESPECT of a good man and officer.

  3. Interesting article……The townships investigation/findings in my opinion were flawed and directed favorably toward the township and short of the facts! Not all parties/witnesses were interviewed in this matter. These officers have been publicly humiliated, their integrity called into question and their livelihood and careers tarnished all because of two officers not wanting to adhere to the departments policies and procedures as well as following orders in doing their job as outlined in the departments Goals and Objectives, which are posted in the police foyer. Others should read the Police Departments Goals and Objectives that clearly outlines what an Officers Fundamental Duties are, and the support the department has for our community and citizenry of the township. as this would clearly show that Captain Dean and Chief Braden are HONORABLE MEN without a doubt, as I was trying to state when I testified but was quickly stopped by townships legal council. This all started when a particular day shift sergeant failed to supervise and take action himself on what has been alleged against the Captain and Chief.

  4. The Captain should have been exonerated immediately since there was no evidence of the charges that were placed on him. The 14 day delay is senseless and makes a person wonder what they hope to achieve within 14 days. Where were the accusers? Why were they not brought in to testify? Many of us left there with questions and in a state of shock that Captain Dean was not exonerated, which should have been the proper outcome from the witnesses testimonies and a HUGE apology should be extended to the Captain from all the Trustees. Following that, the charges against Chief Braden should be dropped as well.

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