Ohio police officer's suit alleges sexual harassment by ex-chief with outsize Facebook fandom

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new lawsuit by a northeast Ohio officer alleges sexual harassment and retaliation by her former boss, a small-town police chief who drew an outsize Facebook audience on his department's page and became a local celebrity before resigning last month.

Brimfield Township Officer Crystal Casterline, who shared her allegations about David Oliver last month in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, filed a lawsuit Monday in Summit County accusing him of unwanted touching, sexual and derogatory comments, striking her in the throat and thigh and restraining her.

His behavior "was so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree that it went beyond all bounds of decency and would be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," the lawsuit said.

Oliver, 46, denies the allegations and said Tuesday that he expected the lawsuit. He said he was notified of a complaint about a hostile work environment several days after disciplining Casterline for a violation of department policy. He didn't specify the violation or punishment.

"I'm looking forward to getting people under oath and the truth coming out" in court, he told The Associated Press.

Oliver's blunt, humorous commentary had made his department's Facebook page one of the most-liked local law enforcement pages in the country. The number of likes grew to more than 177,000 in the past few years as he also wrote a book and got a local radio show.

The department near Kent, which serves about 10,000 people, has temporarily suspended the Facebook page, blaming a war of harsh comments between his supporters and critics.

Casterline, 37, says she has suffered physical injury, emotional distress and embarrassment because of Oliver's actions. Her lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages of at least $25,000.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Attorney General's Office is investigating internal matters at the department. A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation has said it can't discuss details of the investigation.

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