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Lt. Robert Ceriotti accused of sexually harassing Sgt. Karen Menendez

7:44 PM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
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Lt. Robert Ceriotti

By Sharon Stevens

St. Louis (KSDK) - A St. Louis police lieutenant is accused of sexually harassing an officer under his command.

Sgt. Karen Menendez has filed a complaint against veteran police Lt. Robert Ceriotti.

Newschannel 5 had the only TV camera in the hearing room.

Attorneys for Ceriotti and for the police board wanted the disciplinary hearing closed.

The hearing officer, Mark Rubinelli, agreed Wednesday, but reversed his ruling Thursday, opening it to the public, including us.

Sgt. Karen Menendez alleges that Lt. Ceriotti made sexually-tinged comments in her company over a 15-year-period.

In her complaint, Menendez said Ceriotti used graphic and sexual language in conversations with her.

Independent investigator Marti Bloodsaw testified that she interviewed both Ceriotti and Menendez as well as others.

Here's one statement she says Menendez reported to her;"The comment that she made to me is that he would say, 'you look so f-ing hot.' I repeated that comment to Lt. Ceriotti and his response was, 'I would use the word 'hot' as a way of complementing her.'"

Ceriotti's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, says with two exceptions, no one else can support the allegations.

Menendez has filed a lawsuit which is separate from the disciplinary hearing but the accusations are the same.

"This lawsuit is not only against Lt. Ceriotti but also the board of police commissioners and against the chief for failing to supervise and failing to prevent the harassment of Sgt. Menendez," said Menendez's attorney, Brandy Barth.

Attorneys say it could be months before the police board makes a decision regarding the disciplinary hearing.

Both Ceriotti and Menendez remain on active duty.

KSDK

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