“I come before you today to expose this unacceptable behavior and to seek justice for the wrongs committed against me,” Alisha Rupp, 34, said at her lawyer’s office in Palm Harbor last week, WTSP reported.
Rupp says she was fired after she reported incidents of sexual harassment she and other coworkers were subjected too. She said she was quiet about what she witnessed for too long.
Rupp said one of her coworkers made sexual advances towards her and when they were rebuffed she was threatened with a taser. She also claims other employees witnessed sex acts in the courthouse so she decided to come forward.
Earlier this month, Rupp was fired after she went to Polk County Chief Judge Bruce Smith asking for a transfer to a different part of the building, WTSP reported.
Smith denied her request and later sent her a text message telling her she was fired. The text alleges that she missed two days of work thereby redigning from her job. The judge also cited irregularities on her time card.
To Rupp’s attorney this was just a way to retaliate against his client for refusing to stay silent about the inappropriate sexual behavior in the courthouse.
“You know, here we go,” said attorney, David Linesch. “You know it’s interesting. Never report sexual harassment because if you do were gonna get ya. And we’re gonna drag up stuff that happened a year or year and a half ago?”
Just two weeks ago, Polk County faced another sex scandal where officers were accused of engaging in inappropriate sex acts in their offices, patrol cars and hotel rooms.
A woman who once worked for the Lakeland Police Department came forward with sexual harassment allegations that resulted in the resignation of at least nine police officers.
Sue Eberle, who is a civilian crime analyst, alleged that sexual misconduct was rife in the department.
Eberle alleged that Police Sergeant David Woolverton raped a woman in her office. The victim of the rape said she reported the incident to Jackie Suggs, a victims advocate for the Lakeland Police Department.
Suggs never reported the incident to authorities in the department. According to WTSP, Suggs didn’t explain why she didn’t report the rape and quipped that the victim was “a grown woman.”
Woolverton denied the allegations stating that he and the victim had a consensual sexual relationship.
Eberle also alleges that in 2011, at the funeral of a slain officer, she engaged in a sex act outside the reception with fire inspector David Biven. She also said he sent her a text message of himself using a sex toy.
The first investigation will take months to conclude, but thus far at least nine officers have resigned and the police captain, two sergeants, and the fire inspector have been placed on administrative leave.
Now, Polk County is enmeshed in two sex scandals. Too often these incidents come to a boiling point because people chose to ignore sexual harassment out of fear they will lose their jobs.