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A St Louis police officer was sexually harassed by her supervisors, sent a pornographic video on Facebook, and told to lose weight while she was six months pregnant, according to a lawsuit filed in the city this week.
Officer Amanda Signorino joined the force in December 2015 and dated her boss, Lt. Jeff Hoots, on and off for several years.
They split up in January 2017 and then, according to Signorino, her troubles began.
She was subjected to ‘continuous and unreciprocated sexual harassment, intimidation, bullying, practical jokes and advances,’ according to the suit.
Lt Jeff Hoots, who retired in April 2022, is pictured in January 2017 with Officer Amanda Signorino – the post was made around the time they split up
Signorino joined the St Louis police in December 2015. She is now suing for sexual harassment
‘I have been sexually assaulted, harassed and discriminated against based on my gender,’ she wrote in the letter submitted to the court along with the lawsuit, obtained by St Louis Today.
‘After reporting the discrimination, I was retaliated against, transferred, and demoted.’
She noted that in December 2022 she was told to lose 13lbs by her boss, while six months pregnant. It is not clear from the reports who is the father of the unborn child, or who allegedly told her to lose the weight.
Signorino said that Hoots was transferred to another precinct, the Park Rangers, after they split up.
But in 2019 a colleague of his, a sergeant, sent her pornographic material on Facebook.
A colleague of Signorino’s reported it, and she was called into a senior officer’s room to discuss it, without being allowed to bring her union representative with her, she claims.
Hoots was transferred from Signorino’s precinct to the Park Rangers, which he joined in July 2017
Signorino (pictured) said she was sent pornographic material by one of Hoots’ allies once their relationship ended
Signorino said the officer tried to downplay the Facebook message, and convince her that she was twisting what had happened with Hoots.
Signorino was eventually transferred to another precinct, North County.
Yet in 2021, Hoots was transferred to the same precinct, after a member of the Park Rangers division accused him of sexual harassment.
Hoots commanded the Park Rangers, but was accused of sexual harassment there too
Brittney Young said Hoots had personally recruited her to his division in August 2020, when she was a 21-year-old working as a lifeguard in the city.
She accused him of making her play his girlfriend in roll-playing training exercises, as an excuse to touch her.
She said he sent her inappropriate messages, particularly when he had been drinking.
She said he also sent her a picture of himself without a shirt on inside his bedroom.
‘He did ask me, ‘Do you date older men?’ she said. ‘And I told him, ‘No, I date people my age, not 50.’
Young said she was then retaliated against and demoted. She has also now filed a suit accusing Hoots of sexual harassment, and county commanders of not doing enough to stop him.
Hoots was transferred out of the Park Rangers division – and ended up back in charge of Signorino, at the North County Precinct.
Signorino said Hoots was transferred – due to the sexual harassment complaint – and ended up working with her again
Signorino said the final straw was being told to lose 13lbs, while six months pregnant
Signorino was transferred again, and sent to a precinct where she worked under the same people who investigated the pornography incident, she said.
In her suit, Signorino said she lost income and worked the midnight shift, which made finding child care difficult.
She unsuccessfully sought a transfer from that precinct.
In April 2022, Hoots retired after 29 years on the force.
In December 2022, Signorino had a semi-annual evaluation where a lieutenant told her she needed to lose 13 pounds because she was overweight.
She was six months pregnant at the time: the father is not specified.
In her suit, Signorino is seeking an unspecified amount of damages in excess of $25,000.
Spokesman Doug Moore said the county does not comment on pending litigation.