Thursday, December 8, 2016
East Orange paid out $200,000 to police matron who claimed that police captain ejaculated on her furniture.
In her lawsuit, Candida Ray said that Captain Anthony Cooke visited her home on January 26, 2007 to "discuss a business matter involving the sale of cakes and cookies." She claimed that the meeting was "strictly business" and that she and Cooke never had an intimate relationship. According to the lawsuit, Ray left Cooke alone in the living room while she stepped into the kitchen. When she returned "she found that Captain Cooke had removed his penis from his trousers and was masturbating." When she told him to stop and leave her home, Cooke reportedly "refused and masturbated to orgasm, ejaculating over Ms. Ray's love seat and his gun, which he had withdrawn from his holster."
Ray said that she complained to Internal Affairs and was later told that Cooke had confessed to having masturbated but claimed that Ms. Ray had consented. She said that ultimately, no disciplinary action was taken against Cooke. She said that Cooke's visit caused her to miss work and to seek therapy.
Ray claimed that she was humiliated when Cooke's alleged act of masturbation became common knowledge throughout the police department causing numerous employees to press her for "embarrassing details." She said that employees teased her, including Sergeant Michael Williams who allegedly told her that he would come over to her apartment "butt naked" and "jerk off on the furniture." She claimed that such comments created a hostile workplace environment.
The case is captioned Ray v. City of East Orange, et al, Docket No. ESX-L-725-11 and Ray's attorney was Mark Mulick of Montclair. Case documents are on-line here.
None of lawsuit's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. Settlement agreements typically state that payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants. All that is known for sure is that East Orange or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Ray $200,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases resolve before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.