Grogan’s investigation ruled that several allegations of retaliation and targeted discipline against the employees were “unfounded.” It states the former officer involved in the lawsuit had several disciplinary issues.
“The report speaks for itself,” Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch said in a statement after the report was released. “I encourage everyone to read the report carefully and include all attachments.”
Grogan issued a similar statement Thursday; a spokesman for the police department said that because the investigation “involves personnel issues, as well as potential litigation, there will be no further comments regarding this matter at this time.”
Espinoza could not be reached for comment Monday.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday names Espinoza, Grogan, Deutsch, and several other members of the city and police staff as defendants. It asks for a jury trial and $500,000 in damages.
Records show the police department received a complaint from another officer — who is not part of the lawsuit — about the former lieutenant in 2016; the complaint included an allegation that Espinoza made a sexually explicit remark to him. No formal disciplinary action was taken at the time.
Dunwoody police cars are parked outside of the City of Dunwoody municipal building. (Alyssa Pointerfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Credit: Alyssa Pointer
Credit: Alyssa Pointer
Austin’s clients both said they had previously complained verbally about Espinoza, though Grogan said police supervisors and Dunwoody’s human resources manager had not received any sexual harassment complaints from either of them until this March.
Following the recent investigation, Grogan wrote, there is “no doubt that Espinoza exchanged sexually explicit text messages and (Snapchats) with at least three employees.” The investigation includes screenshots of texts and censored versions of the nude photographs.
In one instance, the report states, Espinoza took an explicit photograph of an officer going to the bathroom in the urinal next to him, and sent him the photo later that evening. He received messages from Espinoza from 2017 to 2020 using vulgar language and asking for pictures and sexual favors, according to screenshots included in the report. That officer was not part of the lawsuit filed Monday, but he has obtained an attorney.
Espinoza began working for Dunwoody police when the department was formed in 2009, rising to the rank of lieutenant in 2015, according to police records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council show Espinoza attended a training session called “Preventing Workplace Harassment” in 2013. In his most recent Dunwoody performance evaluations, his supervisors reported he “Exceeds Expectations.”