Drama unfolds in department lawsuit
August 23, 1999
We now bring you NYPD Staten Island Blue, a drama of sex, intrigue and treachery. The names are true, and the events are alleged in a federal lawsuit filed this month by Sandra Marsh, former Deputy Commissioner for Equal Employment Opportunity. Events are also described in two secret police reports prepared in 1998-one by Marsh, the second by her replacement Neldra Zeigler after Marsh said Police Commissioner Howard Safir fired her for refusing to alter her report, which she charges in the suit.
The characters: ... Officers Stacey Maher and Virginia Duffy of the 123rd Precinct, both of whom filed sexual harassment charges with the department against Lt. Joseph Monahan.
... Lt. Lloyd Thompson, commanding officer of the Staten Island Task Force to which Maher was assigned. After Thompson warned Staten Island Patrol Borough Chief Eugene Devlin not to transfer Maher, Devlin transferred Thompson.
... Maher's task force supervisor Sgt. Jacqueline Smarsch, whose husband, Arthur, is friends with Devlin.
... Devlin, who Marsh charged in her report was "evasive." ... Devlin's assistant, Deputy Chief Philip Erickson, who Marsh charged "submitted false testimony." .
Duffy also alleges that Monahan, who denies all of the charges in the report, retaliates by changing her job as youth officer to that of truancy officer, where she must write 25 summonses per month.
Monahan, however, alleges that, Duffy "had poor activity" as youth officer. In January, 1997, he says he issued her a check to organize an Explorer program.
The check was returned in July, uncashed.
"In front of at least three witnesses," he charges, "Duffy stated, 'If he keeps on --- with my job, I will make an EEO complaint ..."
Flashback: Enter Maher, who charges that in 1987, while assigned to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, Monahan unbuttoned her shirt, pulled off her gun belt and unzipped her pants, according to Zeigler's report, which found the charges unsubstantiated.
Zeigler's investigation reveals that when both were assigned to the 123rd Precinct in Staten Island, Maher makes 185 hang-up telephone calls to Monahan's office, pages him 150 times, sends balloons to him at the 123rd Precinct on Feb. 14, 1997, and on that same day placed an anonymous Valentine's Day message in the Daily News.
Enter Thompson, who alleges that after warning Devlin not to transfer Maher, Devlin transferred him to the 120th Precinct, where he practices law, off-duty.
The transfer, Thompson alleges, hinders his practice, requiring him to be on duty during the hours he is normally in court.
Chief Erickson explains Thompson's transfer is due to "high overtime rates, and a high sick rate" within the Task Force.
The department subsequently says Thompson cannot practice law in the precinct where he works as a cop.
© 1999 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.