The town of Windham and a member of its police department will try to settle a sexual-harassment case out of court.

The Maine Human Rights Commission, which ruled Monday that Officer Danielle Cyr was discriminated and retaliated against by co-workers, will oversee the conciliation process.

Rebecca Webber, Cyr’s attorney, said she doesn’t know what compensation Cyr will seek, and that negotiations will be confidential. She said Cyr received worker’s compensation while she was on a two-year administrative leave.

Cyr, who returned to work in Windham last week, repeatedly lodged complaints with superiors in 2009 about the behavior of a fellow officer, identified by Webber as Mark Dougan, who was fired in October 2009.

After the firing, Cyr reported that other members of the department shunned her.

She went on leave in January 2010 and filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission two months later.


A report by human rights commission investigator Angela Tizon, dated Feb. 9, said Cyr was sexually harassed, but wasn’t retaliated against because her pay wasn’t decreased, she wasn’t denied promotion opportunities and she didn’t receive poor performance reviews after making complaints.

On Monday, however, the commission ruled that the behavior of members of the department did constitute retaliation.

Town Manager Tony Plante said he was disappointed by the commission’s ruling on the retaliation claim but is glad to have Cyr back at work. “I hope we can put this whole episode behind us,” he said.

Plante would not confirm that the officer fired was Dougan, saying it was a personnel matter. The investigator’s report did not name the officer, but referred to him as “P.O. D.” Attempts to reach Dougan were unsuccessful.

According to the investigator’s report, Cyr complained to superiors that the officer frequently touched her, even after she told him to stop; that he urinated while standing next to her; and that he challenged her authority, yelled at her and swore at her while responding to police calls.

In September 2009, Cyr complained that he “did not properly back her up during an incident on the job involving firearms, and … yelled at her instead of clearing her from danger.”


His words, heard over the police radio, also led the dispatch supervisor to lodge a complaint, the report said. Cyr and Dougan were then put on separate shifts and an internal investigation was done, leading to the firing.

After Cyr filed a complaint with the human rights commission, the town hired a retired FBI agent to do an outside investigation, which concluded that the town’s response to Cyr’s complaints was “inadequate” and “too slow,” but that retaliation didn’t occur.

The report also indicated that a “hostile sexual harassment environment existed” in the department, beyond the complaints about Dougan.

Witnesses who were interviewed said that sexual language and behavior, including “bag tagging (slapping another’s scrotum)” and “good gaming (slapping another’s rear end)” were common.

Plante said the department has since instituted stronger polices, procedures and training about sexual harassment.

He said Cyr, who was hired in 2006, returned to work part-time Feb. 27, is completing field training and will likely be working full-time within a couple of weeks.

Webber, Cyr’s attorney, said her client was unavailable for comment Monday, but said her first week back at work was “going all right.” “There are some really good officers on that force,” Webber said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:


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