MESA, AZ — Newly released documents from the Mesa Police Department document five internal investigations against a former police officer for sexual harassment.
Former officer Jeffery Neese was accused of sending sexually inappropriate Facebook messages, texts, and pictures. Nine people made the allegations, including female officers, the wife of a male officer, and workers from an off-duty security job.
Neese had been demoted and suspended. He was able to retire with full pension benefits a couple of months ago.
The police officer accusers went public in July. They plan to file a federal lawsuit against the City of Mesa for sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
“They are frustrated with the way the system worked and how they went through the wringer,” the accuser's lawyer, David Lunn, said. “The perpetrator was protected through the whole thing and how long it took to get through the process.”
Lunn said their goal is to put “more teeth“ into the police department's zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
We’d like to get to the table and talk about change, and we have some good ideas to bring,” Lunn said.
Mesa’s internal police investigations sustained some, but not all, of the allegations of workplace harassment and conduct unbecoming an officer. The reports said Neese expressed some remorse.
According to investigators, Neese also said he never received any indication the women were offended. He said his conversations were off duty, and he never supervised his accusers.
Neese's wife told ABC15 Friday her husband is a good man. She also said the accusers are not blameless, and she claimed their character will be brought to light.