The woman at the center of a Lakeland Police Department sex scandal appeared before reporters today with her husband and her attorney, who said she was a victim, not the instigator.
Sue Eberle did not speak, but her attorney, David Linesch, described a culture at the Lakeland Police Department that he said was rife with sexual innuendo, sexual proposition, assault and battery against her.
Linesch said he sent a letter this afternoon to the Lakeland mayor and city attorney.
"Our investigation reveals an exceptional, if not historic case, of sexual harassment, coercion and assault, resulting in a work environment that was sexually toxic and resulted in extreme harm to my clients, Sue and Ed Eberle," Linesch read from the letter.
Linesch said the harassment was an institutional problem for which the police department and city bear full responsibility.
"This was a culture that permeated the department," he said.
FOX 13 had previously not named Eberle because of her allegations that she was a victim of sexual assault. She appeared at the press conference and held hands with her husband, Ed Eberle.
"It has brought them together. They are trying to salvage their marriage and family," Linesch said.
Linesch said they have filed sexual harassment claims against the department at the state and federal levels, but have not yet filed a lawsuit.
"In my 31 years of practice in the field of labor and employment law, I have rarely if ever seen such a sexually toxic and hostile work environment," Linesch said.