An independent legal counsel has determined that there is not enough evidence to conclude Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham sexually harassed two female officers and racially discriminated against a black male officer following their investigation.
The law firm, Allen, Norton and Blue, P.A. of Tallahassee, recommends that Graham, who has been out on administrative leave since September, be fully reinstated.
The firm, which was contracted by the City of Ocala, released their report to the city and Mayor Kent Guinn today. The report states the claims against Graham are “unsupported” and “meritless,” and that one officer’s complaint could be in “retaliation” for a timecard dispute, or to be used to “protect” her in that investigation.
The entire 35-page report is below:
*Editor’s Note: Some of the material written in the reported may be offensive to some readers.
Guinn declined to comment after reviewing the investigation, but stated in a news release that he accepts and concurs with the recommendations.
Guinn said that he would take the recommendations of the independent counsel and the findings of the investigation into consideration when he discusses Graham’s case with the Ocala City Council.
Graham requested to go on paid leave September 21, 2016, in response to the allegations.
Attorney Bobi Frank filed a grievance against Graham on September 15, in which Ocala police officers Rachel Mangum, Casey Walsh and TJ Watts allege sexual harassment, hostile treatment and retaliation and discrimination by the chief.
Ocala City Council voted unanimously to reappoint Graham October 18, pending the outcome of his investigation. He remains on administrative leave.
Walsh and Mangum accused Graham of sexual harassment during a trip to Washington in May 2016 for the National Law Enforcement Memorial that included multiple members of the Ocala Police Department, according to the report.
Following a short tour of Washington museums, Walsh and Mangum joined Graham at the sports bar, Laughing Man. During that time, Walsh and Graham took a selfie photograph together in a unisex bathroom in which Walsh stood in front of a urinal while Graham sat on the toilet.
Walsh said in her testimony that Graham made the request to take the picture, stating it was “abuse.” Graham testified that the photo was Walsh’s idea and that she “begged” to take them, saying it would be “hilarious.”
Afterwards the group moved to O’Malley’s Pub, according to the report.
Graham, Walsh, Mangum and the other officers with them on the trip played a game at O’Malley’s during which Mangum alleges Graham specifically asked her sexually charged questions. None of the witnesses remember most of the questions specifically, but did say the game was largely sexual in nature. Mangum said she remembered one distinct question that Graham asked that particularly offended her.
Mangum said she was “disgustingly appalled,” “mortified” and “stood there in disbelief” in response to the question, while Graham allegedly made unwanted sexual advances and compliments about her.
The report states that no other witnesses recall Graham asking the specific question to which Mangum took offense.
Walsh, who is lesbian, thinks Graham discriminates against her because of her homosexuality. In the report, she cites four instances in which she said Graham sexually harassed her, including the Washington incidents.
Watts’ complaint involved his former direct supervisor at the Ocala Police Department, Dustin Kuentjes. Watts said Kuentjes made several racially discriminatory comments against him and accused him of discriminatory conduct while on the job. He filed his complaint against Graham because he said that Graham condoned Kuentjes’ discrimination because Graham and Kuentjes are close friends.
Watts mentioned a “black side and a white side” to racial discrimination and how retaliation for misconduct is treated at the Ocala Police Department, however the investigators wrote that all of the witnesses refuted this claim in their report.
The investigation concluded that Walsh and Mangum’s sexual harassment claims were invalid because of the nature of the comments made and the context of the events in which they were made, as well as the several months between the allegations on the Washington trip and the September filing. It also stated that not enough evidence showed that Graham racially discriminated against Watts, largely because Watts’ complaint did not attribute any actions directly to Graham.
The law firm that investigated the allegations against Graham has a business relationship with the City of Ocala, but the report said they have not had any dealings with Graham in particular.