Police sergeant demoted for explicit photos wants rank restored.

2014-05-10T00:00:00Z 2014-05-10T12:58:53Z Police sergeant demoted for explicit photos wants rank restored.By Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A lieutenant demoted after his ex-girlfriend turned over nude photos he sent her while dating is suing the city to restore his rank.

Sgt. Frank Greene, a 27-year police veteran, sued the city last week claiming his constitutional rights were violated when the Tucson Police Department demoted him last November.

Greene said his ex-girlfriend, former TPD officer Andrea Middleton, used their “private, ... consensual sharing of personal photographs,” which include pictures of Greene’s genitals and naked buttocks, to exact revenge against him for costing Middleton her position with the department, police records show.

TPD commanders concluded even though the photos were private, officers must adhere to a higher standard of behavior, even in private life. Nor could the department condone high-ranking officers sending pictures of their genitalia to subordinates, records show.

THEIR RELATIONSHIP

Greene said he and Middleton were in a “committed” and “long-term” romantic relationship that lasted from July 2009 to about February 2012, police documents show.

Although Middleton was Greene’s subordinate, she never reported directly to him while they were dating.

Middleton resigned from TPD in June 2013 after she was charged with computer tampering. Greene was the officer who informed Internal Affairs she was misusing police resources.

A subsequent internal investigation revealed Middleton used police resources to harass two women by telephone and text messages.

She was charged with computer tampering and was eventually sentenced to three months’ probation.

Middleton filed a $2 million claim against the city earlier this year stating the department failed to protect her from being sexually harassed and physically abused by Greene.

The claim asserts Middleton and Greene were involved in an abusive relationship, which led to a hostile working environment.

The harassment ranged from Middleton receiving texted photos of Greene’s genitals and buttocks to physical and verbal abuse, the claim said. Even though Middleton reported the behavior to the department’s Internal Affairs Office, the claim states TPD failed to put a stop to the hostile work environment.

Greene’s personnel file shows he was suspended for three days in April 2010 over an investigation into a physical altercation between he and Middleton in December 2009.

Records show the city prosecutor declined the case, but the department suspended Greene anyway because he text messaged an unidentified person encouraging them not to talk to Internal Affair investigators about the case.

Middleton received a recommended 20-hour suspension for discussing the case with a co-worker.

HIGHER STANDARDS

About a month after she resigned from TPD, Middleton reported to the police union president she had nude photos sent to her in a text message from Greene.

The union president then contacted the department and an investigation was opened.

The next day a representative of Middleton’s attorney dropped off a CD containing 12 photos of Lt. Greene in various stages of undress, including three close-ups of his penis and two of his exposed buttocks, police records show.

Middleton didn’t file a formal complaint nor did she give a statement to investigators regarding the photos.

Greene only conceded to being the person in one of the naked photos: a buttock’s shot. But he did tell investigators he had sent her similar pictures while they were dating.

He said both had shared sexually explicit pictures during their relationship and submitted to investigators 190 nude and explicit photos Middleton had sent him, records show.

Records indicate none of the photos appeared to be taken while on duty, in any TPD facility or with a department issued phone. The photos also didn’t depict them in a TPD uniform or with other items related to the department.

Despite those findings, Assistant Chief Brett Klein determined they still violated TPD standards.

“Whether the action is sharing nude photos, sexting or any other sharing of sexually related material, this cannot occur in the workplace,” Klein wrote in his report. “The conduct is of even greater concern when a commander and an officer are involved.”

Klein said every officer’s personal conduct must “comport with regulation.”

With serious ramifications hanging over the department of having a commander sending naked pictures of himself to a subordinate, Klein recommended Greene be demoted to sergeant.

PRECEDENCE

Greene felt he was being unfairly punished because of a prior incident regarding former Lt. Diana Lopez where she was demoted to sergeant because of racy pictures she took of herself.

He said the two incidents weren’t identical because, unlike the Lopez case, his were taken in private and didn’t contain any images of TPD uniforms or other items related to the department. Nor were there images of sexual conduct in a police locker room or elsewhere, he said.

Greene said Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor agreed to the punishment because he feared a lawsuit from Lopez.

Villaseñor disputed Greene’s portrayal and said his punishment was consistent with department policy, records show.

Greene appealed his case to the city’s Civil Service Commission, but the commission upheld the discipline.

In addition to restoring his rank, Greene is seeking back pay and attorney’s fees.

A police spokesman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on Twitter @DarrenDaRonco

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Deals, offers & events

View more...
Get weekly ads via e-mail