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Southampton, female officer settle gender discrimination suit

A sign for Southampton Town Police Headquarters in

A sign for Southampton Town Police Headquarters in Hampton Bays is pictured Monday, August 7, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

Southampton Town officials have settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with a longtime police officer who alleged she was passed over for promotions and faced lewd comments from male colleagues.

Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa and town officials agreed to a settlement that did not include any admission of wrongdoing or fault by any party, Town Attorney James Burke said Friday.

Burke and Costa’s attorney, Kelly Magnuson, both said they could not comment further on the settlement because of a confidentiality provision. Court documents do not detail what is included in the settlement.

Costa, who has been with the Southampton Town Police Department since 1999, is the commanding officer of the detective division and the juvenile aid bureau.

“In my opinion, they are very lucky that she is” still working in the department, Magnuson said in an email Monday. “She is clearly one of the greatest assets of the department despite reaching only the rank of Sergeant to date.”

Costa, 51, of the North Sea hamlet, filed the federal lawsuit in Central Islip in April 2014, alleging she was denied time off and overtime pay and felt uncomfortable in late-night encounters with a former chief of police.

U.S. Eastern District of New York Judge Joseph Bianco dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it is permanently closed, on Sept. 15.

Another town police officer, Lt. Susan Ralph, is set to have a settlement conference in a separate gender discrimination lawsuit against the town on Nov. 30 in the Central Islip courthouse.

The department has about 100 members, with women in about 10 percent of the full-time officer positions, officials said.

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