An outside investigator’s report concluded former Gig Harbor Police Sgt. Sharon Cox was not subject to a hostile work environment based on her gender when she was a member of the department.
The investigator did find, however, that a female officer obtained access to Cox’s confidential background-check files and showed the information to other officers.
Cox resigned from the force on Jan. 14. In September, Cox, the first female in the department promoted to sergeant, filed a claim against the department and the city, alleging sexism and harassment and seeking between $2.5 million and $5 million in damages.
Cox’s resignation letter highlighted the same allegations in her claim, Police Chief Mike Davis said in February. Davis declined to comment on the report obtained by the Gateway, saying city attorney Elizabeth McIntyre advised him against any statements because of pending litigation.
No lawsuit has been filed, Davis said.
According to the Dec. 18 report from investigator Jim Webber of Kirkland-based Jim Webber Consulting, officer Raquel “Rocky” Brunson unintentionally came across Cox’s background file while “surfing around” on a department computer and made sensitive information known to other officers.
“I have to leave my comments to the report,” Webber wrote via email when he was contacted this week.
Brunson described a certain piece of information in Cox’s background file as “incredible” and wondered how, given this information — which Webber chose not to disclose in his report — Cox could have been promoted over other candidates to sergeant in January 2011.
The report concludes that Brunson was not motivated by gender but curiosity when she discovered Cox’s background file.
The document states that Davis left pursuing the matter up to Cox “not due to gender but because he was concerned about the possible dissemination of very sensitive information about her,” Webber wrote in the report.
Cox declined to be interviewed for Webber’s report.
Attempts to directly contact Cox’s attorney, Julie Kays, were unsuccessful.