Dubuque police officer sues Chief and City over sex discrimination

Abigail Simon, who is suing the Dubuque Police Department and Chief for harassment and other claims (Courtesy Photo)
Abigail Simon, who is suing the Dubuque Police Department and Chief for harassment and other claims (Courtesy Photo)(KCRG)
Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 6:27 PM CDT
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A Dubuque police officer is suing the city and the police chief for alleged discrimination, racism, and sexual harassment.

The development follows an I9 investigation last year into the number of sexual harassment complaints that eastern Iowa's largest city governments had documented.

When the I9 investigative team first requested seven years of sexual harassment complaints last year that have been documented by the City of Dubuque, officials there told us they had only found a single case. They would later tell I9 that the incident involved a former fire captain who allegedly harassed an intern but this new lawsuit calls into question that narrative.

Dubuque Police officer Abigail Simon says sometime around March 2010 she first complained to Chief Mark Dalsing that police Captain Jim Lembke was discriminating against her because of her gender but no investigation court records claim was ever launched.

The lawsuit goes on to mention a long list of allegations of impropriety within the department. Some of the allegations include that Lembke would spread rumors that female officers were colluding to get pregnant and that Chief Dalsing "smirked" when Simon reported that same officer to him for making comments about "midget porn" and "midget tossing". Simon's daughter has dwarfism.

Court records also say she was passed over for a promotion for another officer that allegedly had been previously disciplined “for racist behavior..." for using racist vulgarities.

We reached to the City for comment on the lawsuit but were told by spokesperson Randy Gehl they have not seen it at this time but that they do have plans to "thoroughly review it."

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