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Suffolk police sergeant sues department, alleges sexual abuse on the job

A female sergeant has sued the Suffolk County Police Department and the county, accusing them of violating her civil rights and discriminating against her after she reported a male officer had sexually assaulted her.

Sgt. Cindy Olsen of the Sixth Precinct in Selden said an officer exposed himself to her on June 23, 2014, when she was alone at her desk in her office, according to the lawsuit.

Olsen said she covered her eyes, hoping he would leave, but he instead lunged at her, grabbed her wrist and forced her to touch him sexually, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Before leaving, she claims he told her: "I'll be back."

The lawsuit accuses the department of failing to discipline the officer, who then allegedly taunted Olsen and tried to intimidate her, creating a hostile work environment.

Officers she informed about the abuse violated department rules by failing to immediately report it to supervisors, according to the lawsuit.

Olsen's attorney, Vincent White of Long Island City, Queens, said the office sexual assault was violent.

"The important thing to remember is that police officers are human beings. Some are heroes and some are monsters," he said. "It's always disappointing when you see a police officer acting in this way."

The police department declined to comment, citing its policy on pending litigation. The county did not respond to requests for comment.

Olsen joined the force in 1991 and became a sergeant in 2002. Four years later, she was promoted to oversee three officers in the Community Oriented Police Enforcement unit, according to the lawsuit.

The officer accused of sexual assault was involved in a prior incident with Olsen, the lawsuit said.

On May 26, 2014, while Olsen was attending a picnic with co-workers, the officer pressed himself against her and started giving her a neck and back massage, according to the lawsuit. She said she had to make him stop.

Olsen was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in October and hasn't returned to work, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

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