Denver firefighter paid $ 100,000 per city after ex-lieutenant secretly recorded her changing clothes
Denver taxpayers will pay a firefighter $ 100,000 after a former fire lieutenant placed a secret camera in his room at a fire station and recorded his changing clothes.
Denver City Council approved the settlement Monday night after the woman firefighter filed a charge of discriminating against Denver firefighters with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Denver Post does not name the female firefighter because she is the victim of sexual harassment.
In October, a jury convicted former lieutenant Daniel Flesner of criminal invasion of privacy and attempted tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced in January to two years of probation, therapy and mental health screening, according to court records. He retired from the department two days after the discovery of the hidden camera.
“DFD leadership has agreed to take a number of steps to ensure that female firefighters feel safe and respected and that people like Lieutenant Flesner are held accountable for any harm they may cause,” Denver Department of Public Safety spokesperson Kelli Christensen said. in a report.
The changes include:
- Require additional annual in-person sexual harassment training for all staff, starting in 2021
- Work with an external entity to review fire department policies related to discrimination and harassment
- Organization of quarterly meetings between women firefighters and key department heads to discuss ways to improve equity
Women who work for the Denver Fire Department have repeatedly said they face sexism and harassment on the job.
A group of black women sued the department in October, alleging they faced sexism and racism while working for the department. In 2019, the city paid $ 975,000 to settle claims from a former firefighter who said he was fired for filing sex discrimination complaints. Former fire chief Eric Tade resigned in 2020 after an annual firefighters ball featured sexual innuendos and sex toy jokes – for the second year in a row.
The firefighter found the camera – which looked like a phone charger – in her room at Fire Station 9 on March 30, 2019, after hearing a delayed echo of her voice.
She reported the camera to her supervisors and gave the device to them. Supervisors then handed the camera over to Flesner, who grabbed a thumbtack from a nearby cork board and began to jam the pin into the camera.
Flesner later told fire officials he placed the camera in the room as a joke, his arrest affidavit says.
Investigators found video of the woman changing on the device’s memory card, as well as still images, the affidavit states.
The woman was the only female firefighter who worked at the station, according to a lawsuit the woman filed against Flesner on March 29. One of the firefighters who used the same room on his shift told the woman he noticed the device three or four months ago. , but assumed it belonged to one of the three firefighters who used the room.
“Because the defendant Flesner was able to destroy evidence, it is not known how long he has been spying on the plaintiff, or whether he shared the videos with anyone else,” says the woman’s lawsuit against Flesner.
As a result of the crime, the woman “suffered severe emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbance, as well as other damage and loss, including, but not limited to, death. emotional distress and anxiety, inconvenience and impairments of losses, including loss of income and past, present and future medical and therapeutic expenses, ”according to his lawsuit.
Lawyers for the woman firefighter did not return requests for comment on Monday or Tuesday.