GOODHUE — A former part-time police officer is suing the former chief and the city of Goodhue alleging years of sexual harassment and retaliation, including a series of lewd text messages sent from a city-provided work phone.
Allison Jones, who worked for the department from 2014-2017, said former Police Chief Brian Loos subjected her to “uninvited and unwelcome comments regarding her appearance, persistent phone calls, extensive text messages, an unsolicited photo of male genitals and incessant attempts to spend time with her,” according to the lawsuit filed Jan. 22 in federal court.
Loos resigned as chief of Goodhue Police Department in November 2017, the same month the city received a discrimination charge filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
The 15-page complaint alleges multiple violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Minnesota Human Rights Act for retaliation and hostile work environment. Jones seeks $50,000 in damages for loss of salary and emotional distress, as well as attorney’s fees and a declaration that her civil rights were violated.
The lawsuit charges an open, prolonged pattern of harassing behavior by Loos, including comments to others in the department about Jones’ appearance and relationship status. In one instance, Jones alleged Loos tried to initiate one-on-one ground fighting training with her — something she said was never requested of male officers — that ultimately required intervention by a police sergeant.
According to the complaint, Loos sent Jones a series of text messages in fall 2016 about a work conference they would both attend. Loos allegedly messaged her that they would need to share a hotel room due to "taxpayer dollars and all.” Another set of text messages in January 2017 included an unsolicited photo of a penis.
Loos admitted to flirting with Jones but denied sending lewd photos, the complaint states.
The lawsuit alleges a police department supervisor failed to inform the city after Jones reported the harassment in June 2017. Jones was told later that summer the city no longer had hours for her and that she would be removed from the department’s work schedule.
The city claims Jones was taken off the schedule due to “insubordinate behavior” toward the mayor, stemming from a fire dispatch in July 2017. The complaint states the mayor observed Jones’ squad car at the scene of the fire, which was outside of the city limits, and questioned it with Loos. The city claims Jones called the mayor a disparaging name for questioning her whereabouts — an allegation she denies.
Summons were issued to the defendants on Jan. 25, 2021, to inform them of the lawsuit. No hearings were scheduled in the case as of Wednesday.
Requests for comment from the parties were not immediately returned.