West Palm Beach police sergeant suspended for two weeks following sexual harassment investigation

West Palm Beach police sergeant suspended for two weeks following sexual harassment investigation
(Source: Photo by: Facebook, Greg Rideau)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Sgt. Gregory Rideau denied all the allegations made against him, but that did not stop a disciplinary review board from suspending the officer for two weeks without pay.

The suspension happened following a nine-month internal affairs investigation into sexual harassment claims made by one of Sgt. Rideau’s subordinates.

According to a 40-page internal affairs summary, a female officer accused Rideau of ongoing sexual harassment since she was brought into the Organized Crime Section within the Special Investigations Unit in 2016. Documents show Rideau is the woman’s supervisor.

The female officer, whom FOX 29 s not naming, claimed most of the harassment happened during undercover operations.

According to the complaint, Rideau encouraged the female officer to "wear revealing clothing" and "wanted an all-female unit…so they could all wear tight pants."

She told investigators that Rideau attempted to touch her inappropriately several times, and succeeded once, but she "slapped his hand away."

The female officer also claimed Rideau tried to get her drunk during an undercover operation at Sunfest by "feeding her drinks."

Eventually, she became so intoxicated, she had to be removed from the operation.

Eighteen witnesses, included the female complainant and Rideau, were interviewed by investigators. Some officers had no knowledge of the sexual harassment claims, but others say they witnessed Rideau’s attempted to touch the female officer inappropriately.

One witness, another female officer within the unit, claimed she experienced similar, unwanted advances from Rideau as her colleague, and provided investigators with Facebook messages between herself and Rideau.

"I was intoxicated and u came across my mind," one of the messages read. "Why I don’t know but u did. How r u?" Rideau goes on to ask the female to take him to dinner for getting her on the Hostage Team.

In his interview with investigators, Rideau denied all of the allegations. He told investigators he believed the female officer’s complaint was retaliatory after he caught her covering for a colleague accused of stealing thousands of dollars during a search warrant execution.

The colleague in that case, Agent Zach Immler, was later arrested.

The female officer confessed to briefly covering for Immler because she was afraid. She was not charged in that case.

In the end, investigators determined there was a "preponderance of evidence to conclude" that Rideau violated the Discrimination and Harassment policy and the Standard of Conduct policy.

FOX 29 requested an interview with Chief Sarah Mooney. We were told she could not comment on the case since Rideau, who has been with the department for almost 23 years, filed for an arbitration hearing.

FOX 29 also reached out to Rideau for a comment but did not receive a reply.

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