Former Sullivan’s Island police officer sues town, alleges sexual harassment

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:55 PM EDT
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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A former Sullivan’s Island Police officer is suing the town alleging sexual harassment and negligence after she says her supervisor’s behavior negatively affected her life and work performance.

The lawsuit filed in Charleston County in June 2022 details Amanda Capone’s experience after being hired by the Sullivan’s Island Police Department in January 2019. She was put under the supervision of Deputy Town Administrator Jason Blanton, who subjected her and her wife to constant sexual harassment, the lawsuit states.

Capone is openly gay and married to another woman, court documents say.

“Starting in Summer 2020, while Capone was in meetings with Blanton and other members of the town’s staff, Blanton would frequently stop the work-related conversations to ask Capone how she and her wife have sex,” the lawsuit states, adding that the conversations often occurred in front of a fellow police department employee as well as Chief of Police Chris Griffin.

The suit alleges that Blanton “appeared to have an obsession with Capone and her wife’s personal life,” claiming Blanton said he wanted to watch Capone make out with another woman.

The suit also claims he called Capone’s wife trying to get more personal details about their relationship and would comment on her physical appearance and “lick his lips.”

Additionally, when Blanton learned that Capone and her wife were trying to get pregnant through IVF, the suit claims Blanton also said he could “inseminate Capone’s wife for free.”

In June of 2021 during an investigation into these claims, the documents say Town Administrator Andy Benke asked Capone, “[Blanton] is not an actual predator, right?” He also asked if she could “take him,” presumably meaning in a fight, the lawsuit states.

Capone would take days off work after being sick due to her work situation and these comments, court documents state. She also requested paid time-off for IVF procedures, and the lawsuit says despite this time off being approved by the Chief, her paychecks were lower than normal.

Capone also details the “hoops” she was made to jump through when she was up for a promotion. At the same time, Blanton was trying to turn employees against her, the suit states.

In July of 2021, Town Council voted to suspend Blanton for three days, demote him and cut his pay.

In August of 2021, Capone’s therapist wrote to the town, stating the “inappropriate actions” at her workplace “contributed negatively” to her stress and anxiety levels and that it is difficult for her to return to work without “a reasonable resolution and support” from her employer, court documents state.

Capone resigned from police department in October 2021. She is now suing the town for negligence, negligent supervision, negligent retention, intentional infliction of emotional distress, retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful intrusion into private affairs.

Benke said the town can’t comment on pending litigation.

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