A bodybuilding NYPD officer claims that he was sexually harassed by his female boss. Officer Risel Martinez alleges that his onetime superior, Sgt. Laverne Wilson-Valis, groped him and made inappropriate comments about his physique.
Martinez, 27, filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint last Friday (Oct. 13) the New York Daily News reports.
He says that things began to get “weird” after he was transferred to the NYPD’s ballistic vest unit last year. The groping incident occurred in January, but before that, Martinez attests that Wilson-Valis had no problem speaking about his body.
“We’d be there and then she’d make comments like, ‘Wow, Martinez, you’re getting bigger, you’re getting stronger,’ and I’d be like, OK, thank you?,” he told the Daily News.
On Jan. 31, Martinez was moving bulletproof vests around a trailer when Wilson-Vailis allegedly walked in and molested him after his co-workers left.
“She puts her hand on my groin area, and then she places her hand right above my butt,” he recalled. “She pushes me back, looks at my penis — like, directly at my penis — and then pushes me forward and looks at my butt. And when I look at her, she just steps back, puts her hands up and giggles. I was just so confused.”
Martinez says he was “extremely humiliated” by the encounter. “It was incredibly demeaning and dehumanizing.”
Martinez filed a report with the EEO office in February and says that he was still made to work in the department for another month despite the complaint.
The office found his claims of “sexually harassing conduct” to be substantiated, but was unable to substantiate his gender discrimination claim against Wilson-Valis, according to the Daily News.
However, Martinez took his grievance to the EEOC because Wilson-Valis was only required to complete a seminar following an investigation by the EEO.
Martinez has also endured discipline from the department over an incident that may have landed him in the unit run by Wilson-Valis. In 2016, Martinez was stripped of his gun after being recorded pointing his firearm at a crowd and punching a 19-year-old civilian for legally filming him. Martinez was not in uniform at the time and was on hand while his sergeant cuffed a 21-year-old man for reportedly interfering with an auto theft investigation.
Martinez has since been returned to full duty in Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct.