Court Filings: HPD Brass Ignored Sex Harassment, Retaliation Complaints Against Embattled Major
Article by: Lynn Kawano
From: Hawaii News Now
In Honolulu, a recent court filing revealed that HPD Major Stephen Gerona was protected from internal complaints, even against advice from the city’s Equal Opportunity Office.
This development, part of Detective Maile Rego’s ongoing civil lawsuit, alleges sex harassment and retaliation within the department. The filing accuses Deputy Chief Rade Vanic of closing a similar case filed by a female HPD officer, ignoring the Equal Opportunity Office’s recommendation for action.
The office had urged action against Gerona, but Police Chief Joe Logan declined to follow through.
Rego said HPD leaders allow “the abuse of authority that plagues the men and women of the HPD’s rank and file.”
In a 2021 interview with HNN Investigates, Rego said that the department leaders help their friends and punish their enemies.
“My client is still shocked, with the long history of allegations that still, this man is in a position at HPD today to be overseeing the rank and file officers,” said Joseph Rosenbaum, Rego’s attorney.
The court document said the EOO administrator found in the previous investigation “areas of concern which could be potential indicators of targeted action, discrimination, and retaliation for making complaints” but the administrator said the office did “doesn’t have the authority” to stop the chiefs from closing the case without action against Gerona.
The EOO memo to HPD added that when the department notified the female officer that her complaint was being closed “it must not state that concurrence was obtained.”
That means HPD could not say the EOO office agreed with HPD’s decision.
“Without question, there’s been a history that is documented in the court record of, of Major Gerona clearly having supervisory issues with his subordinates,” Rosenbaum said.
The trial for Detective Maile Rego’s civil case is scheduled to start in April.
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