Probe launched into letter believed to be from Ross cops accusing lieutenant of bad behavior - North Journal

Probe launched into letter believed to be from Ross cops accusing lieutenant of bad behavior

Monday, November 4, 2019 | 4:17 PM

A letter accusing a Ross Township police lieutenant of “harassment and ineffective leadership” for allegedly making unprofessional and sexually explicit comments to fellow officers prompted township officials to hire an outside investigator to review the allegations.

A copy of the Aug. 2 letter obtained by the Tribune-Review alleges that Lt. Matthew Grubb made “extremely disturbing comments” to five police recruits who were completing their field training.

The letter signed by “Concerned Members of the Ross Township Police Department” states that Grubb told the new officers they were now “free to rape and pillage the township” and used a sexually explicit slang term to describe how they should approach their jobs.

To avoid a conflict of interest, Ross commissioners asked for an outside party to investigate the allegations made against Grubb after reviewing the letter, officials said.

“The commissioners certainly take these allegations seriously,” said Commissioner Dan DeMarco, who co-chairs the township’s public safety committee. “But this is a personnel matter that the board cannot discuss publicly.”

DeMarco said once the investigation has been completed, “the appropriate action will be taken.”

Township officials declined to identify who is conducting the investigation, but DeMarco said it “is somebody who is highly qualified” for the task.

Board President Steve Korbel said while there is no specific timeframe for how long the probe will take, he anticipates that it is nearing its conclusion and the board “will be considering (whether action is warranted) very soon.”

The board’s agenda meeting will be held Wednesday and its voting meeting this month is scheduled for Nov. 18.

Grubb, who is in his 19th year with Ross police and was promoted to lieutenant in January 2018, did not return telephone or email messages seeking comment.

In addition to the comments made to the police recruits, Grubb is also accused in the letter of regularly making “inappropriate and/or off color comments, jokes and gestures” that are “offensive and repulsive” and go beyond “locker room talk.”

Commissioners declined to say whether the letter they received has any connection to the board’s Aug. 5 vote to fire police officer Mark Sullivan, who was charged by agents from the state Attorney General’s Office with two felony counts of unlawful use of police department computers to search internal files.

The computers Sullivan is charged with illegally accessing belonged to Grubb and police Chief Joseph Ley.

Several dozen people who supported Sullivan turned out for the meeting at which he was dismissed.

On Nov. 15, a district judge dismissed the charges against Sullivan.