Masella, the town of New Boston, N.H., and Police Chief James Brace are among the targets of a lawsuit filed by Drake, a former officer who was fired from the department. Drake alleges in the lawsuit, which was filed this month, that officials did not investigate complaints she made, and made “false, slanderous, and libelous allegations” against her.
Masella’s attorney, Brian Cullen, told the Concord Monitor that his client was “shocked by the allegations and absolutely denies them.”
“We believe they were manufactured by her to explain her termination,” Cullen told the newspaper.
Drake was reportedly fired for falsifying a police report. According to the Monitor:
Drake was fired for allegedly falsifying a DWI police report in September 2014, although she maintains Masella ordered her to do it for the benefit of defense attorneys. She said her termination came on the heels of a complaint alleging sexual harassment against Masella, who was never investigated.The incident tarnished Drake’s reputation and her chances to pursue the career she had dreamed about since childhood, the lawsuit says. She was a top candidate for an officer position in Manchester, and had disclosed altering the police report during a polygraph examination she took as part of the application process.But the job offer was rescinded after New Boston police Chief James Brace added her name to the state’s Laurie List, she said. The list is a record of police officers whose credibility could be called into question if they testify in criminal trials.
“As a policy, the Town of New Boston does not comment on pending litigation,” town attorney Donald Smith told NECN in a statement. “The Town is in the process of preparing a response to the allegations brought forth by Ms. Drake.”
In the statement, Smith also wrote that the town “further asserts the complaint contains inaccurate information which will be addressed as part of the ongoing legal process.”
Drake alleges in the lawsuit that during her first few months working with Masella, she noticed he would make negative comments about female employees. He told her that one cried often, according to the lawsuit, and another had “issues” and was full of “drama.”
“Masella spoke very negatively about the two former female employees, which made Drake nervous,” the complaint reads. It also notes: “Drake was certain that the slightest slip could make her a target of severe harassment, termination of employment or even rape.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Drake once ran into Masella while she was off duty. She was wearing sweatpants with writing on the backside, and Masella made a comment that left her feeling uncomfortable, “because she was aware Masella was looking at her buttocks and she felt his comments were inappropriate.”
“I wish they would realize how idiotic their behavior is, how abusive it is,” Drake’s attorney, Tony Soltani told the Monitor. “It’s fascinating that these people have the gall in 2014-15 in New Hampshire to come up to her and say, ‘You can’t jog in the streets of New Boston, because your clothes, which are a baggy jump suit, are too revealing, too sexy.’ ”
The complaint also references an alleged incident that occurred in March 2015, in which Masella arrived at Drake’s home while she was not on duty.
“Masella arrived in a cruiser while he was on duty wearing a full police uniform,” the court documents read. “When Drake opened the front door, Masella asked her if she was naked. Drake told Masella she ‘was not’ at which point Masella stated ‘Oh, alright I will come back later.’ ”
Drake raised concerns about her workplace with Brace, the police chief, in April 2015, the lawsuit says. Later that month, another officer in the department filed a complaint against Masella, according to the lawsuit. Hours later, Drake was “brought in for an ‘interview’ ” with Brace, while Masella was in the room.
“During this interrogation of Drake, she was subjected to a barrage of questioning lasting for over an hour while the offending supervisor, Masella stood close by,” the lawsuit says.
Drake was eventually fired in 2015, after a town board hearing.