KHQ Investigates Spirit Lake Police Chief's Past - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ Investigates Spirit Lake Police Chief's Past

SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho- Spirit Lake Police Chief Pat Lawless was previously fired from the Ansonia, Connecticut police department for "violating rules and regulations of the department."
 
    KHQ has obtained new details about Spirit Lake police chief Pat Lawless' past citing East coast news sources from 2005. Lawless was hired as a full time dispatcher in 1996 for the Ansonia police department in Connecticut. He was later promoted to a patrol officer. In 2002 Lawless was honored by the department for stopping a man from committing suicide while on duty. Not long after lawless came under fire during a lengthy internal investigation by the Ansonia city police department and police Chief Kevin Hale.
 
    After that investigation Hale said Lawless' was terminated for "violating the rules and regulations of the department". Hale told the Connecticut Post in 2005 that the investigation stemmed from two complaints against Lawless. One internal and one outside the department. However Hale declined to go in to detail with the Post. The Connecticut Post, citing inside police sources said that a probation period that was imposed on Lawless before his termination, stemmed from a harassment complaint by an Ansonia woman.
 
    Lawless filed a grievance with the Ansonia city police department after his firing in 2005 but it was denied by the Board Of Police Commissioners according to the New Haven Register. KHQ spoke with Ansonia police chief Kevin Hale over the phone and he would not provide any more details or elaborate on any circumstances surrounding former police officer Pat Lawless. KHQ has a Freedom of Information Act request pending with the Ansonia police department.
 
 
Sources:  Connecticut Post and New Haven Register.
 

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SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho-  The Chief of Police in Spirit Lake, Pat Lawless, is being accused of sexual harassment and being investigated by Post Falls Police.

A tort claim seeking 5 million dollars in damages was filed by former Spirit Lake police officer Crystal Sudol. The claim states that Sudol endured sexual harassment both verbal and physical from Chief Lawless during her time working at the department. In the claim Sudol says the Chief "created a hostile working environment for females and did batter and assault Sudol".

Spirit Lake Mayor Todd Clary is also coming under fire in the claim which states "the mayor took great lengths to sweep this matter under the rug" even after Sudol had went to Clary with her concerns. It claims Clary and Lawless are good friends and that's why there was no action taken. The complaint states that Sudol was told by the Mayor that "if there wasn't a sexual touching, it wasn't sexual harassment", and if it was sexual touching Lawless would have "been immediately fired."

KHQ spoke with Chief Pat Lawless over the phone who said "I would really love to be able to defend myself, but its best we don't make any comments on this right now." KHQ also asked Lawless if he believes he should step down as police Chief, he replied "well I don't want to make a comment on that right now, we will have to see how this all plays out." Phone calls to Mayor Todd Clary and voice mails were not returned.

According to Lawless Crystal Sudol was a police officer at Spirit Lake from March 2011 to November 2011, that's when, according to the tort claim Sudol was "constructively discharged from her position of employment."

The Post Falls police department has confirmed they are investigating Pat Lawless for a "separate matter". KHQ sent a public records request to Post Falls police pertaining to the investigation of Pat Lawless. Police would not release any records because it's an "On going investigation." KHQ has confirmed Post Falls police were called to Lawless' home a few weeks ago on a welfare check.

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