A city investigation has affirmed allegations of sexual harassment by a Santa Fe police lieutenant, according to an internal memo obtained by SFR.
Lt. Michele Williams and Det. Byron Campbell "used to engage in banter of a sexual nature," which the city's sexual harassment prevention policy prohibits in the workplace, "whether objected to or not," according to the memo, dated Sept. 28. It does not reveal who filed the complaint against Williams.
The allegations appear to hinge on comments Williams made about Campbell's wife. One witness, whose name is redacted from SFR's copy of the memo, overheard Williams tell Campbell that she could "pleasure his wife better than him." Williams and Campbell would joke about Williams "flipping" Campbell's wife.
"Meaning, turning Kristina lesbian," the memo clarifies.
City and police officials are still reviewing the investigation's findings; Williams has not been disciplined, and it is city policy to keep officer discipline secret.
Williams, who is gay, has been in the spotlight before.
In 2008, she faced a disciplinary hearing after her supervisor told her to take off a necklace she had been given while directing traffic during the city's Gay Pride Parade. And in 2012, Williams sued the police department, alleging a captain ordered her to stop teaching firearms courses to cadets at the state Law Enforcement Academy because of her sexual orientation and her relationship with a female cadet.
Williams did not respond to SFR's text messages or voicemails seeking comment for this story.
Although the communication of interest between Williams and Campbell is described as "joking back and forth," the memo describes the two as former friends, and implies that they no longer engage in sexual banter with each other.
City spokesman Matt Ross says the city contracted "an independent third party" to conduct a human resources investigation into Williams' sexual comments. He did not name the firm.
"I can confirm the investigation has wrapped up and the findings were forwarded to the chief of police for his review," Ross says. "The chief would make a [disciplinary] recommendation because he runs the department, and the city manager would act on that recommendation."
Police Chief Patrick Gallagher was copied on the memo.
It is not clear whether Williams has been placed on leave. At publication time, neither Ross nor Santa Fe police spokesman Greg Gurulé would confirm Williams' employment status at the department.
Whatever happens, though, the public won't be able to find out—at least not through official channels.
"We don't comment on personnel matters, and the results of personnel matters are not public record, so that's not something we could share," Ross tells SFR.
In a June cover story, SFR detailed the city's longstanding secrecy policy surrounding officer discipline. Unlike police department's in Albuquerque and elsewhere in the state, SFPD does not consider the fact of whether an officer has been disciplined to be public record.
Instead, Santa Fe officials consider disciplinary facts about officers to be "matters of opinion" and therefore exempt from disclosure under the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), New Mexico's government sunshine law.
In the aftermath of SFR's June story, Mayor Javier Gonzales said he was troubled by the secrecy policy, adding that it "limits our ability to provide accountability and transparency to the public."
In August, he vowed to ask state Attorney General Hector Balderas—whose job includes enforcing and interpreting IPRA—for a formal advisory opinion on whether the city's secrecy policy complies with state law.
Balderas spokesman James Hallinan said in a text message Thursday that the AG's Office had received no such request—nearly two months after Gonzales said he planned to ask for an opinion.
After learning of Hallinan's remarks Thursday, Ross, the city spokesman, said in a text message that "the City Attorney's Office wanted to make sure the letter was properly worded and included the right questions of law, so they spent some time working on that."
Ross continued: "Their draft came back to the mayor this week, and he will be reviewing and signing off on getting it out the door and in the mail to" the AG's Office.