FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) – Fairfax County fire is facing more accusations after another lawsuit was filed against department officials.
In the 40-page lawsuit, a woman firefighter alleges she was bullied and sexually harassed to the point of a conspiracy to get her to quit. She is not suing Fairfax County Fire Department, but the 17 fire officials including current and past fire chiefs.
"We're not saying the fire department is rotten, but the leadership and how they treat young female firefighters, that's what's wrong," said D.C. attorney Martin McMahon.
McMahon is representing firefighter Patricia Tomasello in a lawsuit against 17 Fairfax County fire officials. She alleged a civil conspiracy to bully, belittle and harass her over her 20-year career. Tomasello also claims they were jealous of her achievements and resented her because she complained.
"She's complaining about colleagues who approached her at two in the morning and wanted to have sex with her. She has actually filed a complaint against us. So they realize she's not a team player and then the word comes down, 'Let's get rid of the bitch,'" said McMahon.
The lawsuit alleges two male firefighters asked Tomasello, who is black, for sex and then circulated false rumors, including that the only reason she was selected for her slot was her sex and race. She also claims she was mistreated because she lodged complaints against other firefighters and officials. One incident involved firefighters posing with Hooters girls.
"She saw fire chief on the Hooters incident. Here he is erasing camera pictures. Why? Because they showed the Hooter girls with fire chief hats, or, whatever they're called, helmets. That's destruction of evidence and he could've been brought up on charges," said McMahon.
McMahan said Tomasello was demoted from investigations and not allowed to move up.
"They knew she was qualified, ready to sit for her captains exam, you know how they screwed her out of that, they said, we couldn't find your papers," said McMahon.
In the lawsuit, she also names Guy Morgan, the internal affairs investigator, claiming he bullied her and pushed her once. He is on administrative leave after the discovery of lewd content on his Facebook page.
WUSA9 reporter Peggy Fox spoke to Fire Chief Richard Bowers who said he did know anything about the lawsuit and could not comment.
The 17 defendants have not been served yet.
Tomasello has previously sued the fire department in federal court. That lawsuit was dismissed.