Cop ‘stole’ nude pics of colleague, asked for more
A ROOKIE female cop was taunted her about the size of her breasts and the colour of her underwear after revealing photographs were taken from a personal USB at work, court documents allege.
Christie Lee Turner was less than three years into her career when she took leave after close to a year of what she claims was bullying, victimisation and sexual harassment.
Now medically retired and on WorkCover with PTSD, Ms Turner is suing the State Government for close to $900,000 in lost earnings, according to court documents.
Ms Turner told the Sunday Mail she was "devastated" to lose her career as a police officer and wanted to help others.
A statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court by Ms Turner and her lawyer, Travis Schultz, this week named officer-in-charge, Sergeant Kenneth Slatter and Senior Constable Aaron Meyrick as the officers she claims harassed her.
The ordeal allegedly occurred between October 2015 and mid-2016, during Ms Turner's second posting at Murgon, near Kingaroy.
In November 2015, Ms Turner alleges she was using a personal USB on a work computer when she was called out to a job.
"Senior Constable Meyrick stole personal photos of the plaintiff from her personal digital storage device, being photos in which she was topless and wearing only bikini bottom briefs," according to court documents.
"Officer Meyrick commented on the size of the plaintiff's breasts and the colour of her underwear and, in doing so, intimated that he had taken copies of the plaintiff's personal photographs and kept them."
Senior Constable Meyrick allegedly searched her personal hard drive and located a set of five photos in a folder. He then allegedly downloaded the photos and took copies for himself for 'personal use', according to court documents.
"You have bigger boobs than I expected," Senior Constable Meyrick allegedly told Ms Turner. She claims Mr Meyrick also said, 'you must have wanted me to have the photographs, or you wouldn't have left them on that hard drive,' while the two were on a job together.
In a series of messages Senior Constable Meyrick said "your body isn't that bad is it", "they are just boobs" and told Ms Turner she was "overthinking this whole thing", according to court documents.
In the messages Senior Constable Meyrick allegedly said he would only use the images for 'personal use' and invited Ms Turner to send him fresh photos.
Ms Turner claims Sgt Slatter and Senior Constable Meyrick subjected her to hurt, ridicule and embarrassment in front of her co-workers and colleagues.
Ms Turner has experienced nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, significant weight loss and thoughts of self harm and overdose since the alleged harassment, according to her claim.
Mr Schultz claims his client was shown 'contumelious disregard for her rights'.
Ms Turner also suffered 'further humiliation and embarrassment' because Senior Constable Meyrick has denied that he took the photos, according to court documents.
Ms Turner said she reported the matter to Ethical Standards Command, but is yet to be advised of an outcome.
She said she loved her career as a police officer and hoped her case would 'save others'.
"I am completely devastated to have lost my chance to have succeeded in a career that I loved and worked so hard for," she said.
"I'm hoping that my case going public could save others from finding themselves in the situation that has been inflicted on me."
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll was asked why Ms Turner had not been informed about the outcome of her complaint to ESC and what action was taken against Senior Constable Meyrick and Sgt Slatter.
Instead, a statement attributable to a QPS spokesman was supplied.
"Negative workplace behaviour is not tolerated," the statement read.
"It is essential that all employees of the QPS enjoy a safe working environment free from bullying, unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour," the statement read.
"The QPS takes such allegations seriously and that is why we have been proactive, working with our employees and unions to ensure there are mechanisms in place to maintain a robust internal discipline system with appropriate overview and support measures."
Mr Schultz said Ms Turner's case was 'a sad one' and called her 'courageous' for coming forward.
"Her alleged experience with the QPS is, on her account, a poor reflection of 21st century values around gender equality and mutual respect. And at a higher level than just her case, the claim calls out the need for cultural realignment and the normalisation of values including respect in all organisations," Mr Schultz said.
"One positive aspect of the Turner case is the bravery of Christie and some other officers who have been prepared to call out the alleged misconduct of a superior; despite the toll that doing so may take on them both personally and professionally.
"For other serving officers to be prepared to stand up and corroborate Christie's account is not just courageous, but encouraging. It shows that even in an organisation like the QPS, we are beginning to see officers prepared to stand up for what they believe is a systemic wrong and to hold their employer to account."