A lawsuit has been filed by the initial female police officer in Iron Mountain, Michigan, alleging that her coworkers sexually harassed and assaulted her.
Teresa Williams, who was employed at Iron Mountain Police Department for more than four years until her resignation, has brought forward a lawsuit alleging that her coworkers engaged in sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, created a work environment that was hostile, and retaliated against her.
After being employed as the first female police officer in the rural Michigan town in 2017, Williams claims that her direct supervisor, Joseph Dumais, coerced her into kissing him as part of an alleged "initiation" ritual just a few weeks into her job.
According to her lawsuit, Williams and her supervisor were at a bar when she was instructed to take a Fireball shot and kiss Dumais. After refusing to comply and stating her belief that the ritual was fabricated, her direct supervisor claimed that it was a standard protocol and that everyone was required to participate.
As per Williams' allegation, Dumais proceeded to put his hands between her legs and touched her genitals after having her take another shot.
Furthermore, the lawsuit states that a colleague informed Williams of a bet between her former patrol partner, Garth Budek, and Dumais, on who would have sexual intercourse with her first.
The lawsuit alleges that Budek sexually assaulted Williams while she was driving him home one night by forcing her to touch his genitals. Additionally, she claims that he inappropriately touched and kissed her without her consent on other occasions.
The lawsuit further asserts that on a different occasion, Williams was watching a movie with Budek and his wife when the officer's spouse exited the room. Subsequently, Budek allegedly coerced Williams into performing oral sex on him.
In 2022, Williams claims that she had a meeting with Dumais and Ed Mattson, the Director of Police and Fire Services, where she reported the incidents of sexual harassment and assault. However, she alleged that the focus of the meeting was on how to support Budek instead of addressing her concerns. Shortly after the meeting, Williams was given an ultimatum of either resigning or being terminated.
In April 2022, Williams departed from Iron Mountain Police Department.
During an interview with NBC, Williams expressed her desire to return to her career as a police officer, as the job held great significance to her. However, she is concerned that due to her experiences, small towns in Michigan may not consider hiring her.
Gregory Grant, the attorney who represents all three defendants, declined to comment on the lawsuit and legal proceedings in a statement provided to NBC.
He said: "I am unable to provide any comment at this time regarding specific allegations or details as the case is pending."
"There are two sides to every story and my clients are looking forward to presenting the facts in court."
"With this said, the City of Iron Mountain has always been committed to creating a safe and respectful work environment for all of its employees."