Sexual harassment lawsuit settled involving former and current Marietta police chief

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The city of Marietta has agreed to pay more than $142,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a police officer who alleged years of sexual harassment by the former police chief.

Ironically, Katherine Warden, who brought the lawsuit, is now the city’s police chief.

“This is the kind of change that defines civil rights litigation. Chief Warden is in the position she deserves to be in,” said Warden’s attorney, Mike Fradin.

The case settled in February. Fradin said they are satisfied with the outcome.

“We filed suit based on circumstances we thought were unfair, and the result is one that we think puts her in a position that she should be in,” Fradin said. “That wasn’t clear when we first filed the case because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Warden was sworn in as the first female Marietta police chief in June 2022.

She filed her lawsuit in February 2022 in federal court. She alleged she was routinely mocked and demeaned in front of her co-workers and was denied opportunities for promotion by the former police chief, Rodney Hupp.

Hupp also said Warden did not have the respect of the male officers working under her because she “coddles” them and acts “matronly,” the lawsuit alleged.

Warden alleged that Hupp told her he could not promote her to a higher position because it might give the impression they were sexually intimate.

The lawsuit came nearly one year after Warden filed a complaint with the city, which led to an investigation and prompted Hupp to resign in July 2021.

Fradin said Hupp hasn’t been employed by the city of Marietta since his resignation, but he does believe Hupp is employed by a neighboring municipality.