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Gay Rikers Island correction officer says in lawsuit supervisor mocked her sexuality

2019-08-23

A gay Rikers Island correction officer charged in a lawsuit Friday that her supervisor relentlessly mocked her sexuality, asking her questions like “how do you know you are gay, have you been with men?” (James Keivom/New York Daily News)

A gay Rikers Island correction officer charged in a lawsuit Friday that her supervisor relentlessly mocked her sexuality, asking her questions like “how do you know you are gay, have you been with men?”

Correction Officer Carolyn Grainger says in the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that Capt. Lynn Demuria began making inappropriate comments when Demuria started supervising her roughly three years ago.

“I’m not interested in men, that’s how I know," Grainger told Demuria, according to the suit.

“Well how do you know you don’t like it if you never tried it?" Demuria, 41, allegedly replied.

On May 2 of last year, Grainger, 40, told a man in uniform he “looked nice.”

"Doesn’t matter what he looks like, you’re not interested anyway,” Demuria allegedly said.

The supervisor’s comments, made in earshot of Grainger’s Department of Correction colleagues, resulted in more questions about her orientation, according to the suit.

Male colleagues asked her “do you think she looks good?” about other women, the lawsuit states. Female colleagues walked out of locker rooms when Grainger arrived, prompting her to start changing clothes in the car, the suit claims.

The “discriminatory environment” has caused her an “extreme amount of stress, guilt, shame and embarrassment,” the suit states.

Grainger says she filed a discrimination complaint against Demuria with DOC’s office of Equal Employment Opportunity last year. The allegation was substantiated in March — but she claims in her suit that the Department has has taken no action since.

Meanwhile, the taunts about her sexuality continue, she said. Grainger said that in June a colleague identified only as Officer Daniel barked at her, "If you think you’re a man, I’ll punch you in the face like you’re a man!” the suit says.

Grainger seeks damages to be determined at trial. Her attorney did not return a message. Messages left for Demuria were not returned. A message for the correction captain’s union also was not returned. The city’s Law Department and Department of Correction had no immediate comment.