Lawyer questions how Harrison cleared ex-chief of harassment allegations

Posted: Updated:
HARRISON -

The lawyer of a detective who accused the former Harrison police chief of harassment is releasing a recording that he says will corroborate the complaint.

The Town of Harrison cleared former Harrison Police Chief Michael Olsey of sexual harassment allegations. The claims come from Detective Derka Abbate, who accuses Olsey of harassing her for six years.

“Verbal abuse, as well as physical harassment, and the allegations of that are Chief Olsey grabbed Abbate’s buttocks while she was dressed in a costume at an event for families,” says lawyer Josh Moskovitz.

During a Skype interview, Moskovitz played part of a 50-minute recorded conversation to News 12 that he says is between Olsey and another woman who he won't identify. He says part of the conversation includes Olsey saying, "It's a total mess. And I'm just trying to keep my family together. That's all I'm trying to do."

Moskovitz says that the recording indicates he sent similar text messages of a sexual nature and acknowledges on the recording that those text messages would corroborate Derka Abbate's complaint.

The attorney believes Harrison officials had access to the recording and questions how the town could conclude the former chief didn't violate its anti-harassment policy.

News 12 left messages with the town attorney for comment but hasn’t heard back.

Moskovitz is calling on the town to hire an independent investigator to lead a new probe. If it doesn’t, he says he'll file a complaint against the Town of Harrison.

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