A former Hyattsville police officer has filed a lawsuit alleging that a fellow officer on the force sexually harassed her and tried to rape her, according to court documents.
Marsha Lessard, who retired from the force in 2009, has claimed in court documents that Sgt. Pat O'Hagan -- now the president of the Hyattsville Fraternal Order of Police -- attempted to rape her on a trip to an FOP event in Louisville, Ky., in 2007. She has filed a suit against the city for sexual harassment, sex-based discrimination and retaliation for engaging in protected activity, and said in court documents that the attempted rape was part of a larger culture of sexual harassment at the Hyattsville Police Department.
Lessard said O'Hagan invited her to an FOP event in 2007; at the event, she said in court documents, he pulled her into a men's restroom and allegedly forced her to touch his crotch. Later, she said, he entered her hotel room in the middle of the night, climbed on top of her and attempted to rape her, according to the lawsuit. A female friend who had accompanied her on the trip jumped on O'Hagan's back and fought him off, Lessard said in court documents.
Lessard said in court documents that she reported the incident to hotel security that night and to state FOP members the next day, then told a Hyattsville police sergeant upon returning from the trip.
The Hyattsville Police Department did not respond Wednesday to repeated requests for comment on the lawsuit. The FOP's vice president said he was aware of a Maryland State Police investigation into the alleged attempted rape, but could not give details on the investigation itself and hadn't heard of Lessard's lawsuit.
Lessard says in court documents that she was the subject of continued harassment from O'Hagan and other officers after the incident, and that she was placed on O'Hagan's squad under his supervision by a supervisor who had been informed of the attempted rape.
In court documents, Lessard said she spent significant time on disability leave because she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of stress from her work environment. She alleges in court documents that the city discriminated against her by forcing her to retire in 2009.
Michael Amster, Lessard's lawyer, says he hasn't yet heard back from the city on the lawsuit, which he filed June 28. A city spokeswoman did not return a call for comment by press time Wednesday.
Lessard is seeking unspecified compensatory damages and lost wages and benefits from the city, and Amster has requested a jury trial in the case.