Ray RaimundiJan 12, 2018, 9:41 pmJan 15, 2018, 3:08 pm

Policing the police? Detective with Harrison PD alleges sexual harassment by police chief

FiOS1 News and The Journal News investigate the accusations in the department

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HARRISON —There are strong allegations of sexual harassment against Harrison Police Dept. Chief Michael Olsey being made by Det. Derka Abbat, who says she dealt with the alleged harassment for years.

"I think I'm surprised anytime a public official is accused of something of this nature," says The Journal News investigative reporter Matt Spillane.

He and fellow investigative reporter Mark Lungariello are tackling the serious allegations made by Det. Abbate. Abbate alleges relentless harassment for a period of six years.

"The evidence that she presented to us is certainly worth looking into and concerning," Spillane says.

The evidence is detailed in a complaint form filed by Det. Abbate to the Town of Harrison. Abbate claims the alleged abuse began after she started dating her now-husband, who is a police officer in the department. The detective alleges Olsey sent her text messages quoting sexual rap song lyrics.

One text in 2016, she says Osley said to her, "You and I should get together." To which, Abatte responded, "No, I’m married. You have met my husband. If my husband even knew you asked, he would kill you."

Det. Abbate alleges Police Chief Olsey inappropriately touched her during an event at police headquarters in October 2017. Two months later, she decided to file a complaint with the Town of Harrison that says she wasn't going to stay silent any more about this alleged physical and verbal abuse.

The alleged inappropriate touching happened after Abbate says, as per the complaint, “My assignment was to dress up as a cartoon character from the Paw Patrol cartoon” to take pictures with children. Abbate says, "When the chief stood next to me to take his picture, he grabbed my ass and said, 'Oh is that your tale?' In a very angry tone, I said, 'NOT FUNNY!' And he just laughed."

Abbate also claims Olsey ordered her to handle personal errands for his business and home while she was on-duty. Abbate says Olsey ordered her and two other department employees to install five cameras outside of Chief Olsey's home. Abbate also says she was sent to a laundromat — owned by Olsey — to fix a credit card machine while on-duty.

"According to Det. Abbate, that was kind of a regular thing that occurred between the chief's laundromat in town, his home, and dealing with things outside of work," Spillane says.

Deputy Attorney Nelson Canter, Harrison Town Attorney Frank Allegretti, and Mayor Ron Belmont refused FiOS1 News’ request for comment and only said, "It's under investigation."

A video from a Harrison Town Hall board meeting in late December that's posted on the town's website allegedly shows Mayor Belmont saying while referring to a microphone in front of him, "You know they say the one with the longest mic has the longest...uh....” before another official reacts in laughter. The comments were made by the mayor right before the meeting began.

Det. Abbate says she viewed the video and says the culture of the town board is a "boys club." The mayor's comments seemingly appear to reinforce her concerns. And she says the board is intentionally not being transparent with this investigation. Spillane agrees.

"It’s been more than two weeks since her complaint was filed and it’s unclear who, if anyone, has been interviewed, if the town board plans to take any action," Spillane says.

The Town of Harrison now waits for the results of this investigation.

Det. Abbate says she stayed silent for years because she didn't want to impede on her husband getting a deserved promotion. But Harrison police did not promote the officer.

Spillane’s and Lungariello’s digital report can be read on lohud.com.

The full print report will be available Sunday Jan. 14 in The Journal News.

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