- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Veteran MJPD officer resigns amid scandal
Mar 11, 2005 12:00 am
A veteran Mt. Juliet police officer has resigned after an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him by 16 women, including several city employees who labeled him a "pervert."
Former Sgt. Greg Barlow, a 14-year veteran of the Mt. Juliet Police Department, submitted a letter of resignation on March 4, Mayor Linda Elam confirmed on Tuesday.
She said the officer's departure came "following an official complaint by a city employee concerning inappropriate workplace conversations" leading to the internal investigation.
"Upon completion of the investigation, and after learning the nature of the contents of the report, Sgt. Barlow immediately tendered his resignation," Elam said.
A nine-page summary of the internal investigation obtained by The Lebanon Democrat through a formal public records request contained numerous sensational allegations of inappropriate conduct by Barlow, who refused to discuss the probe when contacted on Tuesday.
"I will not comment on that," he said of the investigation.
When asked why he left the department Barlow said he is "on to bigger and better things."
"I'm looking at options outside of public service," he said.
The summary of the investigation, compiled by Detective Michael Mullins, said some of the 16 women interviewed about the allegations feared reporting Barlow to his superiors because of perceptions that he enjoyed a close relationship with Police Chief Kenny Martin and City Manager Rob Shearer.
"During this investigation multiple reoccurring patterns arose, one of which is the main reason that these allegations went unmentioned, the relationships between Sgt. Barlow, Chief Kenneth Martin and City Manager Rob Shearer," Mullins' summary noted.
Martin refused to comment when contacted on Tuesday while an attempt to reach Shearer was unsucccessful.
Mullin's summary of the probe indicated the investigation began at the direction of Martin after a female city employee complained about Barlow "speaking in great detail" about a female relative's "breast augmentation."
The woman told investigators "the conversation made her feel physically sick" and that "she still feels uncomfortable with Sgt. Barlow and would not wish to be left alone with him."
A witness to the alleged conversation later interviewed by Det. Michael Mullins – who headed the internal investigation – confirmed the officer's remarks and added Barlow "has over the period of time she has worked for the city has engaged in many inappropriate sexual related jokes."
The two women told Mullins the conversation occurred in September and they did not speak out earlier because "they feared the appearance of a close friendship between Sgt. Barlow and Chief Martin."
A third city employee referred to Mullins about Barlow told the investigator "she has also heard Sgt. Barlow make offensive remarks in the past such as 'Call me Big Sexy and you can guess how I got that title.'"
The female city worker told Mullins that Barlow "has a bad reputation through the city hall of being overly flirtatious" and added "that she feels Sgt. Barlow's flirtations are not innocent comments, but feelers for any sexual takers, which will become a redundant statement by many different females through the investigation."
She said other female city workers commonly referred to Barlow as a "pervert" and named three other women employees who "should be interviewed" about the officer.
According to Mullins' summary, the three basically confirmed allegations made by the employees interviewed earlier, with one of them saying that while she felt the breast augmentation conversation was "odd" she "was not offended by any remark."
Yet another female city employee told Mullins that during a conversation with Barlow the officer started "talking about how much he enjoys" certain sexual acts but that she did not immediately report him to superiors because she too "feared retaliation."
A total of 16 women were interviewed during the course of the investigation, according to Mullin's summary.
According to the internal investigation summary, Barlow agreed to be interviewed about the allegations and denied the breast augmentation conversation was sexual in nature.
"Sgt. Barlow did not mean for the topic to be taken offensive or inappropriately," Mullins's report stated.
However, Barlow admitted "that he has on occasion sent sexual related emails and told sexual related jokes in the work place" but maintained "he never told a sexual related joke to any females."
Barlow also told Mullins "that he does not view himself as a flirt" and "went on to state that he believes his personality may be misunderstood as a flirtation but is never intended as feelers," according to the report.
The officer also claimed not to recall several other conversations recounted by the women.
When asked what type of discipline he felt he should receive, Barlow told Mullins "that he guessed he could be fired but thought that would be too harsh."
Mullins noted while Barlow "did make a few admissions of misconduct such as dirty jokes and emails … Sgt. Barlow did not admit to many other topics that had multiple cooperating statements that this investigator finds to be extremely disturbing …"
Mullins concluded the report by noting he interviewed "16 different individuals all of whom in some form or fashion had some form of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior regarding Sgt. Barlow."
Of the 16 women, a dozen indicated they felt Barlow should be fired, the investigator noted.
Mullins finished the summary by recommending "serious punitive actions" against Barlow, saying if he is not fired "he should be removed from all public related positions."
Elam lauded the women who cooperated with the investigation, saying the city's reaction to the allegations shows "that a zero tolerance policy means just that."
"I applaud the complaintants for their courage in bringing these inappropraite workplace conversations to the attention of the city administration," Elam said. "The city administration is to be commended for immediately launching an investigation upon receipt of a complaint, for conducting a fair and thorough investigation, and for taking appropriate action upon receipt of the report."
She called the incident "a sad occurence for the city" but emphasized the investigation has given "the staff an opportunity to witness first-hand that a zero tolerance policy means just that, and to know that they will be supported by the highest levels of city government."
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.