Longest-serving Fairbanks Police Detective Quits, Files Sexual Harassment Complaint
A 17-year member of the Fairbanks Police Department quit her job Monday and filed a lawsuit against the city alleging sexual harassment and retaliation for filing a complaint about it.
In her complaint and letter of resignation filed Monday, Alana Malloy alleges that she has “endured repeated sexual harassment and retaliation” by her supervisor and other Fairbanks Police officials.
“Fairbanks Police Department just lost one of its best detectives because of dysfunction,” says Jim Davis, Malloy’s attorney, “and the lack of any kind of accountability between the department and the mayor and City Council.”
Davis says she was the department’s senior detective and longest-serving woman officer who, “after complaining about sexual harassment and gender discrimination, was sidelined and ostracized by all of the male officers in the department, and the mayor and the mayor’s staff.”
Chief Ron Dupee denies Malloy’s allegations. He said in a prepared statement the city released Monday afternoon that Malloy’s resignation letter contains “many gross misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods.” He added “We look forward to bringing forward all of the facts, circumstances, and truths in court.”
Malloy says the harassment began just over two years ago, when her supervisor, Lt. Matt Soden, asked fellow detective Avery Thompson about Malloy’s sex life. The complaint says Soden told Thompson that if he and Malloy were in a relationship, it would, quote “result in changes in the unit,” unquote, apparently in the form of one or both of them being reassigned.
After Thompson told Malloy about his conversation with Soden, she met with him and complained about him asking about her sex life. In March, Thompson was placed on administrative leave, but he says he wasn't informed why.
The complaint goes on to say that Soden later told Malloy that she must notify him when she was going to be away on weekends and who she would be with. He told her that she must inform him when she and Thompson would both be unavailable for work.
Malloy says she was subjected to that and other mistreatment, including unfair discipline and gossip. All of which, the complaint says, was “because of her gender, as male colleagues were not subjected to the same scrutiny and harassment.”
“They had a relationship,” Davis said, “but I assume Lieutenant Soden has had a relationship in his life. And I doubt if any female officers asked him – or the mayor or the chief or the lieutenant chief – ‘Who are you sleeping with this weekend?’ ”
The document says when Malloy filed a complaint in June 2019 about the harassment with the city’s Human Resources director, she was assured it all would stop. But, she says, instead she was subjected to, quote “increasing hostility.”
“Even after asking the Human Resources Department to assist, they did absolutely nothing except pay lip service to her request,” Davis said.
The 17-page complaint outlines subsequent instances of intimidation, harassment and other unfair treatment that led up to her resignation, effective Monday.
The complaint also implicates Chief Dupee, who she says improperly intervened in the harassment complaint and contributed to what she calls the department’s overall “dysfunction.”
The complaint asks the court to grant her actual and compensatory damages, and asks the judge to require the city to pay for litigation, including lawyer fees.
Malloy’s resignation is the latest of several controversies to engulf the Fairbanks Police Department in recent years. It follows allegations of excessive force used by officers, especially when arresting Alaska Natives and other people of color.
Frequent turnover in police chiefs also has roiled the department, beginning with the resignation of Randall Aragon in 2017 over allegations of wrongdoing involving his private security business.
Chief Eric Jewkes, who succeeded Aragon, served until mid-2019, when Anchorage Police Lieutenant Nancy Reeder was hired. But she resigned after a year on the job, for what she said were personal reasons.
Reeder was followed by Dupee, who was hired in February.