(WBBM Newsradio 780) CICERO A civil rights lawsuit is being filed at this hour in federal court in

Chicago by a female Cicero police officer who claims she’s the victim of sexual harassment – that’s led to alleged retaliation and even death threats.

The alleged harassment started with name calling but Cicero Police Officer Rhonda Gross claims it escalated to the point of stalking and even direct and indirect threats on her life.

Gross is suing the town’s current and former police chiefs, at least one commander and town officials for what’s described as repeated and pervasive sexual harassment targeted at the department’s female officers.

 Attorney Dana Kurtz represents Gross. She tells WBBM Newsradio 780 “Women in the department were referred to as whores, they were referred to with the c word, the b word and as sluts.”

 Officer Gross repeatedly asked that superiors investigate the alleged harassment but her lawyer says no action was taken. AND … the problems have escalated for Gross. According to her lawsuit, she’s been the target of stalking and direct and indirect threats on her life. On one occasion, the suit claims she was denied backup on an emergency call.

 Kurtz says at least one commanding officer talked about blowing up her client and said Gross needed to be shot. On at least one emergency call, the lawsuit claims Gross was denied backup.

 “Two officers were en route to a call when Chief Rowan came on the radio and told the officers to disregard the call which meant don’t go to the call.” The lawsuit names former Cicero Chief Thomas Rowan, current ChiefWayne Johnson and

Commander Jerald Rodish. The Town of Cicero is named as is former Town President Betty Loren Maltese. Kurtz says her client- a fourth generation police officer– just wants to do her job. “Women should be free to work in police departments and other jobs where they are not sexually harassed or retaliated against when they complain.”

Kurtz says her client hopes the lawsuit brings about overdue reforms in a police department long

plagued by harassment and retaliation.

Steve Grzanich I WBBM Newsradio 780

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