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Des Moines police union boss retired after harassment claims

The side of a Des Moines Police Department vehicle.
The side of a Des Moines Police Department vehicle.(Courtesy: Des Moines Police Department)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A lawsuit alleges the longtime president of the Des Moines police officers’ union sexually harassed women but was allowed to retire without discipline or criminal charges.

Four female employees of the Des Moines Police Department allege in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that they were sent explicit photos by Des Moines Police Bargaining Unit Association President Stew Barnes in 2019 and 2020. The lawsuit claims the department allowed Barnes to retire in August 2020 with full benefits despite “overwhelming evidence” of his harassment of co-workers and members of the public.

A Des Moines police spokesman has said the department couldn’t discipline Barnes once he retired. Barnes didn’t immediately return messages.

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