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Sexually suggestive conduct by former Maj. Dennis Missimi of the Portage County Sheriff's Department was known but tolerated by department staff for more than a decade, an internal investigation obtained by the Record-Courier reveals.
Missimi resigned his position on May 22 after multiple allegations of sexual harassment were made by two females who worked within the department.
The investigation, conducted by Chief Detective Lt. Gregory Johnson, reveals a workplace where staff members knew of Missimi's alleged history as far back as 1996 when he left his position as chief of police at the former Robinson Memorial Hospital and was hired into the department.
Missimi resigned before Sheriff David Doak had the chance to fire him for his alleged conduct. Doak told the Record-Courier that Missimi never physically touched either alleged victim and that the alleged conduct, while unprofessional, did not rise to level of criminal prosecution.
Two women, one employee of the department and one former employee of an associated agency, alleged Missimi "frequently made comments" that were "sexual in nature," regarding their appearance and offered comments about his sexual prowess.
One alleged victim said she was the face of a department-wide rumor. Others labeled her "Missimi's Girl" and believed she had been having an affair with the former major, she said. She denied all such allegations.
In a statement, she said other administrative staff allegedly said "(Missimi is) going to like her," and that she was "his type" based on her application photo, even before she was hired into the department.
"Why is it everyone knew about his past, but I was not made aware," she wrote in an investigation statement. "At this point it's a joke and just tossed up with an explanation that it's 'Dennis being Dennis.'"
Missimi also allegedly stalked both women, going so far as to follow one to off-site training activities, an unrelated dinner party, the parking lot and public places for uninvited lunches.
One alleged victim described Missimi's sexual advances as "lewd and sexually suggestive," including daily comments about her physical appearance.
Those alleged comments included that "he would like to have both of them at the same time and he could handle both her and (the other woman) at the same time," that one "had a nice pair" and that following behind gave him a "nice view" of her.
Missimi also allegedly urged one woman to wear sweatpants more often because of "how removable they were."
Missimi was repeatedly confronted by both alleged victims to no avail, the report said.
A county court representative stated in the investigation that one woman would qualify for a stalking protection order if she requested it. That step was not taken by either alleged victim, both stating that they did not want to get Missimi in trouble but simply wanted his actions to stop.
According to the report, Missimi openly acknowledged to an employee that "he needed to stay away from (one alleged victim) due to the clothes that she was wearing."
One woman even said she was relieved that the second alleged victim had been hired because she thought it would take pressure off advances toward herself. When the second alleged victim was hired, other employees warned her of Missimi's alleged conduct.
And the information on this harrasment was no given to the Sheriff? Another case of Law Enforcement officers looking the other way to protect one of their own? Took lessons from the Brimfield Police Chief?It went as far as stalking and nobody stepped forward to enforce the code of conduct that surely exists at the Portage County Sheriff's office? One mustwonder about the Department and those that run it.