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Female officers settle with SLC, drop sexual harassment suit

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Oct 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-14 23:47:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Three female police officers who sued Salt Lake City over allegations of sexual harassment by a superior officer have reached a settlement with the city and dropped their lawsuit.

The women claimed they were sexually harassed by former Deputy Chief Rick Findlay in 2011, and that Findlay took photographs of the women in bikinis from two of the officers' phones and shared them with others without their consent.

Another woman said Findlay told co-workers that he had personal photographs of her.

The lawsuit, filed in early September, listed three plaintiffs: Robin Heiden, Melody Gray and Tiffany Commagere. The women reportedly settled for $85,000 each and the promise that policies regarding sexual harassment would be changed in the department moving forward.

"We're happy that the case is over," said Ed Brass,  an attorney representing the three officers. "We're happy to be done with it. It was never their desire to go public with these allegations, so they're very pleased with the way the city has treated them."

Attorneys for the officers told FOX 13 News back in May they intended to file suit, and at that time they stated the city’s human resource department had determined the plaintiffs had been sexually harassed by their superior officer.

Former Salt Lake City PD Chief Chris Burbank placed Findlay on administrative leave, where he stayed for seven months until he retired.

But those actions went against what Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Chief Burbank had agreed upon.

“It was incredibly frustrating, and disappointing,” Mayor Becker said of Chief Burbank’s decision. “He allowed Chief Findlay to resign instead of a demotion. At the time, to me, that was unacceptable.”

Mayor Becker then called for Chief Burbank’s resignation in June, giving Burbank an ultimatum to sign an apology letter they had drafted or resign. Burbank resigned.

Salt Lake City says they are now taking steps forward to improve sexual harassment policies, and they want the three female officers to assist them in the process.