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Vicious Harassment Alleged at NJ State Police

CAMDEN, N.J. (CN) - A state trooper says she faced years of sexual harassment from supervisors and had to get an abortion after her acting captain assaulted and impregnated her. She says that after challenging her to a shooting competition, the captain pepper-sprayed her in the face because she was about to beat him, and that onlookers, "while shocked," did nothing to help her.

Alexis Hayes says that while she was assigned to the coveted "Tac Pac" specialist position, acting Capt. Thomas King constantly harassed her and eventually got her pregnant.

King texted and called her "at all hours," and showed up uninvited at her home though he lived 90 minutes away, according her federal complaint.

Hayes says that after working on special detail in Pittsburgh, she and her colleagues went to a restaurant, where "King continually saw to it that Plaintiff's drink was full." She says she went up to her room, "woozy from so much alcohol."

The complaint continues: "Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Defendant King had somehow obtained a copy of the key to Plaintiff's room.

"While Plaintiff was in bed, inebriated, King came into Plaintiff's room and sexually assaulted her.

"As a result of Defendant King's sexual assault on Plaintiff, Plaintiff became pregnant."

She says she abortion even though she is "morally and philosophically opposed" to the procedure.

She claims King continued to make sexual advances, and his obnoxious behavior culminated when he and pepper sprayed her when she was about to beat him in a "shoot out" competition.

The complaint states: "In or about June 2009, Defendant King ordered Plaintiff to have a competitive 'shoot out' with him. As it became clear that Plaintiff would win the shoot competition, Defendant King suddenly took out his OC spray and sprayed Plaintiff's face. While shocked, all in attendance did nothing to stop Defendant

King or assist Plaintiff."

OC spray is so named for oleoresin capsicum, the burning agent in hot pepper.

Hayes says she is traumatized and suffered a nervous breakdown because of the constant harassment and lack of support.

She says she spoke about her trauma to James Nestor with the New Jersey State Police Employee Assistance Program, and Nestor violated confidentiality by speaking about her to other officers.

Hayes says she also received unwanted attention from her instructor at academy. She claims Christine Shalcross escalated from demeaning and unprofessional behavior like calling her "peanut" and drawing on her face with black permanent marker. At Hayes' graduation party, Shalcross whispered, "Hayes, I love you," in her ear and kissed Hayes on the cheek, according to the complaint.

While investigating Hayes' claims against Shalcross, who had gone on to work with Internal Affairs, Hayes says two sergeants conducted lengthy, humiliating and hostile interviews.

When the investigation stalled with no disciplinary action taken against Shalcross, the sergeants claimed to have lost the more than 10 hours of recorded interviews, according to the complaint.

Hayes says she also faced sexual harassment from another female state trooper while the two worked at the presidential inauguration in Washington. The other trooper, whom Hayes was assigned to bunk with, called Hayes a "lesbian hating, dyke hater" and "homophobic," according to the complaint. Hayes also claims the woman proposed a "vagfest" and that they share one bed.

The same sergeants interviewed Hayes about this harassment, then asked her to sign a "wildly inaccurate" transcript of the interview, she says.

Three state police officers violated due process by forcibly restraining her to take blood after she was injured in a car accident because they wanted to charge her with drunk driving, according to the complaint.

Hayes sued New Jersey, Shalcross, King, Nestor and three officers, seeking punitive damages for conspiracy, and constitutional violations. She also wants an injunction against the state police Employment Assistance Program.

She is represented by William Buckman of Moorestown, N.J.

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