Tentative settlement reached in Allen Park Police Department sexual harassment lawsuit

Officer claims she endured years of sexual innuendo, physical harassment

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Kayla Clarke

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - A tentative settlement has been reached in a sexual harassment lawsuit a female Allen Park police officer filed against the department.

For many years the Allen Park Police Department only had one woman on its 35-member force. She filed a lawsuit after alleging sexual harassment.

Sergeant Daniele Cerroni was accused of multiple acts of sexual harassment. Lieutenant Mike Williams also received accusations against him.

Tracie Brown, a 15-year veteran Allen Park police officer, claims she endured years of sexual innuendo and physical harassment, to the point where she couldn't take it anymore.

In a federal lawsuit, she alleged the following:

"Cerroni has grabbed plaintiff by her hair to shake her head, grabbed her hand to touch his penis, and struggled with her to push her hand to his genitals."

The lawsuit continues, "Cerroni has likewise unzipped his pants in front of plaintiff, and made numerous sexual and threatening comments to her."

Brown complained to the department about two officers, and to her horror, the chief assigned the sexual harassment investigation to one of the officers she complained about.

"Rather than take the report seriously, defendant city assigned lieutenant Williams to carry out the investigation. Knowing he was one of the two people accused in the initial report of making sexually harassing remarks," the lawsuit alleges.

The case filed last year was tentatively settled this week. How much money Brown will receive will remain a secret until the City Council approves the deal.

Mayor Bill Matakas spoke about the settlement.

"They're gonna have a financial conclusion to the matter, but I don't think it's gonna put their lives back together, and that's either party," he said.

He said the department has also undergone sexual harassment training.

"Today, look, you know here these problems that occur, and we've just got to be careful in your behavior with other people."

Brown admitted in the case she had flirted with Cerroni when she joined the force. Then she married someone else and told Cerroni to stop.

The City Council will take up the settlement later this month. It's likely the case won't be completely settled until the end of the year.

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