Michigan town’s first female cop quits as male officers forced her to perform oral sex

Michigan town’s first female cop quits as male officers forced her to perform oral sex

By Owais Farooqi

Warning: The article contains recollections of sexual abuse which can be triggering to some readers

IRON MOUNTAIN MICHIGAN: Teresa Williams, the first female police officer to serve in a rural town in Michigan, has claimed she was repeatedly sexually harassed and assaulted by her male colleagues for four and a half years until she was forced to resign. In a federal lawsuit filed against three officers, Williams alleges she was pressured to perform oral sex and make out with her male colleagues.

According to the lawsuit, as reported by the Daily Mail, Williams was forced to kiss her direct supervisor Joseph Dumais, the director of police services, at a bar as part of an initiation ritual just weeks after she was hired in October 2017. When she was later pressured into taking another Fireball shot, Dumais “put his hand between Williams’ legs and grabbed her genitals”.

‘I want somebody to step in and take action’
In a separate incident, Williams claims her former patrol partner, Garth Budek, forced himself on her after she drove him home from a bar and made her touch his genitals over his pants before groping her and kissing her against her wishes. Budek then invited Williams to watch a movie with him and his wife, but when his wife left the room, he pressured her to perform oral sex on him, after which he told Williams she could never tell anyone.

On the night that Dumais had forced Williams to kiss him and sexually assault him, the supervisor and Budek had bet on who could have sex with her first, according to the lawsuit. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is Ed Mattson, the director of police and fire services, as well as the city and the police department, for not acting on William’s allegations. None of the three officers named in the suit have faced disciplinary action.

“I want somebody to step in and take action – like hold these people accountable,” Williams told NBC News. “Just because you wear a badge and you’re a cop, it doesn’t mean you get to treat people however you want and break the law and do whatever you want”, she added.

Williams’ attorney, Jack Schulz, said he believes that because Iron Mountain is such a rural community, the police force does not face the same checks and balances as larger forces. “It is my hope that congress and the Michigan legislature take a serious look into the insufficiencies in existing law which allow for abusers to walk free. Teresa’s case demonstrates why it is so difficult for victims to come forward in the existing limited time constraints to seek action,” he said.

The report further noted Williams was summoned to meet Dumais in his office in October 2020, however, he forbade her from having a witness and locked the door. He allegedly exclaimed that he was “sick and weary of hearing her pity story” before she fled the room.

Williams was repeatedly punished and accused of being unprofessional for failing to answer a radio call concerning a hit-and-run. If her male coworkers had behaved similarly, the lawsuit claims that no disciplinary action would have been taken.

Williams met with Mattson and Dumais, the department’s top two supervisors, in March 2022 to discuss officers talking negatively about her outside of work and the harassment she was experiencing, the lawsuit claims. Williams was still being harassed by her co-workers at the time.

‘My job meant everything to me’

Following the meeting, Williams was told she would be fired if she did resign, the suit said. She resigned in April last year. “I would love to be able to go back and be a police officer. I really would. My job meant everything to me,” Williams, who was the second girl who played football at her Wisconsin high school, said. “Unfortunately, I believe, in our small towns, nobody would hire me back.”

Gregory Grant, an attorney who represents the defendants, said: “I am unable to provide any comment at this time regarding specific allegations or details as the case is pending. There are two sides to every story and my clients are looking forward to presenting the facts in court. With this said the City of Iron Mountain has always been committed to creating a safe and respectful work environment for all of its employees.”


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