Updated May 19, 2022 - 5:50 pm
A Las Vegas police officer has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses the Metropolitan Police Department of retaliating against him after he accused his supervisor of sexual harassment.
According to the lawsuit, Brandon Englert was demoted from detective to patrolman after he rejected multiple sexual advances from his supervisor, Sgt. Jennifer Benjamins. Englert alleges that after he reported her, she launched an internal investigation into a complaint made against him and his partner, which resulted in Englert’s demotion.
Englert also alleges that Metro was aware of Benjamins’ behavior, and that several reports were made against her for “similar conduct with other officers.”
Metro said it does not comment on pending litigation, and Benjamins declined to comment on the suit through a union official from the Las Vegas Metro Police Managers & Supervisors Association.
Benjamins is not named as a defendant in the federal lawsuit, which was filed Monday.
In July 2017, Benjamins became a sergeant in Metro’s vice unit, where Englert was working as a detective. The vice unit investigates sex trafficking and prostitution-related crimes.
“Shortly after Sergeant Benjamins became part of the Vice unit, Sergeant Benjamins began making inappropriate comments to Englert that he and Sergeant Benjamins should go on vacation together and have sex,” alleges the lawsuit, written by attorneys Jason Guinasso and Astrid Perez.
According to the suit, Englert disregarded Benjamins’ comments, but she continued to “make inappropriate advances.”
While on duty, Benjamins would show Englert “half naked photos of herself” and ask him how she looked, according to a discrimination charge Englert filed with Nevada’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Englert also wrote in the report that Benjamins grabbed his genitals while they were on duty in January 2018, and that she smacked him in the genital area a month later, “causing severe pain.”
“She then looked at me and laughed,” Englert wrote in the report, which was included with the federal lawsuit.
In January, the commission found that it was unable to substantiate Englert’s allegations but notified him that the determination did not prevent him from suing, according to documents included with the lawsuit.
During a police operation, Englert had to strip down to his underwear, which was “caught on video,” according to the lawsuit. Benjamins then said she was going to use the video for a training class.
“This would expose Englert to hundreds of people, however, Englert did not want his body to be used for training purposes,” the lawsuit states.
Benjamins also made comments in front of other employees about the size of Englert’s penis, according to the suit.
In March 2018, the document states, Englert told a lieutenant about the harassment. When the lieutenant told Englert “not to ‘make mountains out of mole hills,’” Englert filed the formal complaint with Metro’s internal affairs bureau, according to the lawsuit.
Days after Englert filed the sexual harassment complaint, Benjamins reported Englert and his partner to internal affairs. She reported the two based on a complaint she had received two months prior, the suit alleges.
In June 2018, Englert was told that the investigation into his sexual harassment complaint was going to be closed “with no further action taken,” according to the lawsuit.
Five months later, Englert was demoted from detective to patrolman, although his partner remained a detective, his attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
Englert then claimed he was denied his preferred schedule and was prevented from testing for positions, “despite having a better record than several other people with an extensive disciplinary history,” the lawsuit states.
In an email Thursday, Metro said Benjamins “separated” from the department in April after 21 years of employment.
The lawsuit alleges that Metro subjected Englert to a “hostile, intimidating work environment” after he made the sexual harassment complaint.
“Defendant LVMPD’s conduct directly and proximately caused Plaintiff Englert to suffer loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, as well as severe emotional and physical distress,” the lawsuit further alleges.