A female Nassau County Deputy Sheriff filed a federal lawsuit alleging that she was subjected to near constant sexual harassment for the two years she was assigned to the Family Court Unit.
Alicia Boudouris, 45, claimed in the lawsuit filed Friday that when she threatened to make a formal complaint, she was allegedly transferred and subjected to further retaliatory harassment—including being followed and filmed by fellow officers.
“They were behaving like a frat house,” her attorney, Rick Ostrove, told reporters Monday during a news conference at his Garden City office. “Like a bunch of people who don’t know how to behave properly and who don’t respect women and who don’t treat women properly, objectifying women to talk about their body parts. It’s not what should be happening in any workplace and women should not have to be subjected to this.”
The suit alleged that Sherriff Michael Sposato, Capt. Lawrence Schnurr, Lt. Lou Cafiero and Sgt. Dan Snydor created and perpetuated an atmosphere of hostility toward women in the male-dominated agency that runs the county jail in addition to court duties. The suit names all four men and the county as defendants. The court documents did not specify how much in monetary damages are being sought.
The harassment began, she alleged, before she even stepped foot inside her department. According to the lawsuit, Boudouris learned that was branded as “old hag” and “old bag” while she was still in the academy from June 2010 to January 2011, when the unit learned that the 45-year-old married mother of two was assigned to work alongside them upon graduation from the academy.
Once she began working in her official capacity, she was continuously subjected to what was she said was commonly referred to as “the Lou Show,” a rolling often profane and offensive commentary by Lt. Cafiero, she alleged. Subjects included musings about possible grooming techniques for genitalia, calling Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen Degeneres “carpet munchers,” among other degrading comments, according to the lawsuit.
Boudouris, who Cafiero allegedly referred to as “Boobdouris,” also contended that after she’d been transferred out of the Family Court Unit and into a field unit, she was denied the same opportunities to earn overtime compensation. The case is being investigated by the Equal Opportunity Commission, officials said.
“We do not comment when there is an active EEO investigation,” Nassau County Carnell Foskey said in a statement in response to a request for comment from the sheriff’s office. “We take any allegations of this nature seriously and are fully investigating this matter.”
Ostrove, who did not make his client available for comment, added: “The types of things being said were the types of things that we can’t say here today and should never be said in any workplace, especially a law enforcement environment where people are assigned to protect the public and to respect the laws and respect others and provide gender equality.”