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A former Tucson police officer has filed a million claim against the city saying she was a victim of sexual harassment while on the force.

Andrea Middleton filed a claim against the city and the Police Department. The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, refers to an “anachronistic Police Department that allows senior commanders ... to date, to sexually harass, and even to physically assault new, younger female officers.”

The claim asserts Middleton became involved in an abusive relationship with a high-ranking official. The relationship and subsequent hostile working environment created by that official “ground (Middleton) into a depression,” the claim said.

The harassment ranged from Middleton receiving texted photos of the male officer’s genitals and buttocks to physical and verbal abuse, the claims says.

Even though Middleton reported the behavior to the department’s Internal Affairs Office, the claim states the TPD failed to put a stop to the hostile work environment.

Middleton, a seven-year veteran, resigned from the Police Department last June after she was charged with computer tampering.

A police internal investigation revealed Middleton used police resources to harass two women by telephone and text messages. Middleton believed her former boyfriend may have still had a relationship with at least one of them. She was eventually sentenced to three months’ probation.

The claim acknowledged that Middleton made a “dumb mistake.” But it said if TPD had intervened and put an end to the abuse, Middleton “never would have had a reason to make that mistake.”

Furthermore, the claim said it’s not uncommon for officers to access confidential police information for personal reasons.

It said those officers’ indiscretions were either overlooked or lightly punished. But since Middleton’s boyfriend at the time enjoyed “favored status” at TPD, the department “zealously pursued” the allegations against her.

A Tucson Police Department spokesman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

Contact Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com.

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