Young cop’s ‘relief’ as State Govt admits nude pic scandal
A medically retired police officer felt "pure relief" to read the State Government had admitted she was sexually harassed at work, in a document filed with the Supreme Court.
Sunshine Coast woman Christie Lee Turner filed a claim detailing ongoing harassment and bullying she suffered as a young Constable posted at Murgon Police Station between 2015 and 2017.
The harassment included a colleague accessing topless photos she had on a personal USB and comments about her "boobs".
The 29-year-old said it took every bit of strength for her to speak out about her experience.
She said she was left with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of "ridicule, humiliation and denigration" by officer-in-charge Sergeant Kenneth Slatter.
The State Government has now admitted she was harassed in response to her claim suing for close to $900,000 in lost earnings.
In response to Ms Turner's claim, the State Government in October admitted she had been subjected to bullying by Sgt Slatter during her employment.
It also admitted to Ms Turner's claims that she was sexually harassed by Senior Constable Aaron Meyrick in 2015.
"When Senior Constable Meyrick copied and retained photographs of the plaintiff in which she was topless, and made inappropriate comments to her about the photographs during the performance of their work duties," the State Government said in a Notice of Intention to Defend.
Ms Turner claimed Sen-Constable Meyrick searched through her personal USB when it was plugged into a work computer and found five photos Ms Turner had taken for her former boyfriend.
"You have bigger boobs than I expected," Sen-Constable Meyrick told Ms Turner while they were on the job.
Ms Turner on Wednesday told the Daily she felt pure relief to read the State Government's admissions that she had been subjected to inappropriate behaviour at work.
"It is the first step in having my case acknowledged and hopefully the first step towards ensuring action is taken to prevent others having to endure the same traumatic experiences," she said.
Ms Turner is now medically retired and on Work Cover.
She is supported daily by her PTSD assistance dog Buddy who wakes her when she is having nightmares and calms her during panic attacks.
"I am completely devastated to have lost my chance to have succeeded in a career that I loved and worked so hard for," she said.
Ms Turner's lawyer Travis Schultz said The State Government was to be applauded for making appropriate concessions in an effort to reduce the impact that legal proceedings could have.
But he said there was still work to be done.
"What they have not admitted is the extent to which (the harassment) caused the psychological condition that has ended Ms Turner's career in the Queensland Police Service," Mr Schultz said.
"The next step will be a mediation and if that fails to achieve a resolution, a trial in the Supreme Court."
Mr Schultz said most weeks his firm worked on a "disappointingly high" number of workplace bullying and sexual harassment cases.
"For obvious reasons, I'm not able to provide detail on these, but the stories at the heart are a stark reminder for me that despite all the sexual, racial and industrial rights movements in our modern 'Oh but haven't we come so far, love' world, there are still too many women (and men) who continue to suffer debilitating abuse in the workplace," Mr Schultz said.
"There's a terrible statistic from 2019 that shows one in every nine workers reported being bullied at work."
Ms Turner said she hoped her case would inspire others to speak up about workplace harassment.
"With greater awareness, hopefully justice can be served and positive changes can be made to workplace cultures throughout our society to prevent this type of behaviour happening in the future," she said.
The Queensland Police Service is yet to respond to questions regarding any action that may be taken against Sgt Slatter and Sen-Constable Meyrick.