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Women sexually harassing men

Sexual prowess

Complaints about women bosses preying on men have doubled since 1990. What's going on out there?

 

Of course, there are men who might just resent the increasing presence and influence of women in the workplace, who don't like that times have changed for good. For those men, is lodging a sexual-harassment complaint the ultimate retaliation — the way to make a woman's gender her downfall?

 

Or maybe they just feel...harassed. Consider the case of former senior undercover drug detective Matt Floeter, a deeply tanned 41-year-old with bulging muscles and eyes the color of the South Florida ocean. From the day Sergeant Barbara Jones took over as the supervisor of his hard-core, paramilitary-style unit of the Orlando Police Department, she could not keep her hands to herself, he says, grabbing and hugging him and the other guys every time they passed her desk in their big, open box of an office. "She was like a kid in a candy shop," he says. "She had a full-court press on me all the time" — even rubbing her groin against him, he says, and at least once humping his leg, just like their unit's drug-sniffing dog, Gunney.

 

It's hard to believe that this tough guy — who once shot a whacked-out dealer five times in a bust gone bad and who was commended for valor by former Attorney General John Ashcroft for doing it — would allow a woman pushing 50 to molest him. Floeter explains: "Hey, that is a sergeant, and you have got to bow down and say, 'Yes ma'am, no ma'am,' and you have to respect the rank." Plus, she was personal pals with her supervisor.

 

And yet Floeter did complain, finally, after three months of the alleged behavior, following a closed-door meeting with Jones in which she came down on him about his poor work ethic and threatened to subpoena his phone records because he was using his cell phone while on duty for calls related to his personal business, Aqua Cops. After another argument during a unit meeting in which Jones detailed changes she was set to implement that Floeter felt would undercut his investigative work and damage his reputation, Floeter drove straight to Internal Affairs and reported her for sexual harassment. The city settled out of court with Floeter last December, for an undisclosed amount. For her part, Barbara Jones was reprimanded for conduct unbecoming an officer.

 

"It was horrible," says Jones, who is now the public-information officer for the Orlando Police Department. "Especially when you didn't do anything, but you don't have any proof that you didn't."

 

Her explanation is simple: She was forcing the detectives to be accountable for their productivity, and they didn't like it. "They're all macho and aggressive and the best of the best and don't mess with us kind of thing," she says.

 

Who's telling the truth — the befuddled woman with the sweet Southern accent, now 53, or the defiant detective who drove 260 miles on a Sunday to tell me his side of the story?

 

Sure, Jones had hugged her men — "in a congratulatory way," she says. But it wasn't anything weird. That's how a woman shows appreciation. That's just what a woman does. Isn't it?


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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Women Harassing Men

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