The Iron Mountain officer claims that she was sexually assaulted and regularly harassed by her male colleagues.
The first female police officer to serve Iron Mountain, a rural community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming that she was subjected to non-stop sexual harassment.
According to NBC News, Teresa Williams alleges that, in the four-and-a-half years she spent in Iron Mountain, she was sexually harassed and assaulted until she submitted her resignation.
Attorneys for Williams say that, within weeks of being hired by the department, their client was coerced into “making out” with her supervisor at a local bar.
The supervisor, along with William’s former patrol partner, also placed bets as to which man would have sex with her first.
While employed by the department, Williams was allegedly–at different times–groped, pressured into kissing her colleagues, and coerced into performing oral sex on an officer while his wife was in another part of the house.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Williams said that she wants her male counterparts in Iron Mountain to be held accountable for their misconduct.
“I want to see somebody step in and take action — like hold these people accountable,” Williams said on Thursday. “Just because you wear a badge and you’re a cop, it doesn’t mean you’re above the law. It doesn’t mean you get to treat people however you want and break the law and do whatever you want.”
Williams, who is 35, also said that she wants Iron Mountain residents to know about their police department’s characteristics.
“I want, especially the community of Iron Mountain, to know that I’m doing this because they have the right to know […] what and who it is that is supposed to be protecting and serving them,” Williams said.
The lawsuit, writes NBC News, names several defendants, including Iron Mountain Police Department supervisors Ed Mattson and Joseph Dumais, as well as Williams’ former patrol partner, Garth Budek.
Also named as defendants are the City of Iron Mountain and the Iron Mountain Police Department.
Gregory Grant, an attorney representing all of the defendants, told NBC News that his clients look forward to presenting their side of the story in court.
“I am unable to provide any comment at this time regarding specific allegations or details as the case is pending,” Grant said. “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.”
However, Jack Schulz, the attorney representing Williams, told the press that he believes that Iron Mountain—his client’s hometown—is devoid of the systems of checks-and-balances that can, hypothetically, hold police officers accountable in larger communities.
“This was her dream job in her hometown,” Schulz said. “A lot of the agencies and things set up to regulate and monitor these things kind of overlook rural areas in Michigan and tend to focus on larger municipalities.”
“It’s just appalling,” Schulz said, “that these individual officers are able to act with such impunity. I’m proud to represent her, but I’m saddened to see that there is nowhere to turn.”