A lawsuit filed by a former NYPD officer alleges that she was raped by her captain during her tenure on the force. The retiree claims that her superior assigned her to posts that would make it convenient for him to spend time with her.
According to the New York Post one of those assignments Capt. Jeffrey Brienza would place on Officer Gillian Roberts’ schedule was a detail at the Yankee Stadium, where she accuses him of sexually assaulting her “nearly every game day” for a year.
Roberts, a Black woman who joined the NYPD in 1998, worked under Brienza in the Bronx, at the 44th Precinct, after requesting a transfer to the Stadium Detail in 2020.
In her suit filed in Bronx Supreme Court, she said that “almost immediately” he began to show “unusual control and preferential treatment” over her, “particularly in regards to her schedule and assignments.” At one point, Brienza made Roberts his driver, despite never having a driver before. The complaint alleges that he sought to isolate her from other officers, and would demean her in front of other officers. He also made sexual advances toward her but she refused them each time.
Roberts claims in her suit that the first rape happened in or around June of 2020. After work, while she was using the female restroom, Brienza followed her in, entered her stall, and grabbed her by the waist.
She said as she cried out, “No,” he responded “Yes.”
The lawsuit contends that he exposed himself and forcibly made her perform fellatio on him. Moments later, she states that he had unprotected and unwanted vaginal intercourse with her.
According to the claim, the rapes continued. Often using his office as the base, the captain is said to have leveraged his authority as her boss to make her do sexual acts on him. On game days, he would assign her to a post close to his office, so that he could assault her and when she tried to avoid him, he would say “I’m going to figure out a way to get you into my office.”
“This occurred nearly every game day for a year, and most non-game days when they were on duty at the same time when he would arrange for them to be alone,” reads the complaint.
As a result of being made the Captain’s “sex slave,” she said that she has suffered from “nightmares” and/or “could not sleep,” “lost her temper,” “feared for her health,” and had to take “multiple STD screening during the year after several of the rapes.”
She notes that the last assault was in September of 2021. He “violently raped” her in the female locker room at the Stadium. It was after this that she states that she contacted Inspector Martinez at the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) to report what she said had been happening to her. The IAB has since opened a full investigation on Brienza’s conduct.
Feeling she had no choice but to leave the force after the investigation started for fear of retaliation from the captain’s peers, Roberts retired two years earlier than she planned.
Her lawyer, Fred Lichtmacher, explained to The Insider, “The NYPD has a policy, not stated but very much in effect, where they protect their royalty. They circle their wagons where there is a complaint about a supervisor. You’re knocked down if you come out and say something about a supervisor. Gillian knew this and knew she had to leave.”
The attorney said he also expects that other women will come forth with their own stories of sexual harassment or assault soon.
Roberts is suing the City of New York and Captain Brienza for $35 million in damages, plus attorney fees.
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