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Transgender Connecticut police officer fired, city denies harassment

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD Conn. (Reuters) - A transgender Middletown, Connecticut, police officer who complained for more than a year she had been the target of harassment by fellow officers has been fired, the city's mayor said on Monday, adding the action was not the result of the gender change.

The officer, who was hired seven years ago by the Middletown Police Department as Frank Quaranta and became Francesca Quaranta after a sex change operation two years ago, submitted complaints last year to the city and the state's human rights commission that fellow officers had made disparaging comments that she said created a hostile work environment.

Quaranta said she would fight her termination, which she described as "discrimination because of gender identity."

Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew said on Monday the officer was fired because she failed a fitness-for-duty evaluation earlier this year, refused to take another exam this month and had run out of paid leave.

"We met face to face with her in early June, but she refused to submit to a second evaluation," Drew said in an interview. "A psychologist who conducted the examination deemed it would be dangerous to return her to duty, but she asked for a second evaluation and then declined to be evaluated."

Drew said a city review had found one case in which "a police sergeant made discriminatory comments” to Quaranta, but added the sergeant was suspended without pay for 10 days.

The mayor said Quaranta was "trying to have it both ways" by swearing in an affidavit she was fit for work, but also seeking a city pension and then refusing to be re-evaluated for a return to work.

Quaranta has not worked since requesting administrative leave in August 2013 when she filed complaints about her treatment in the department. The city determined there had been no harassment, while the state has yet to reach a decision.

A spokeswoman for the Middletown police did not respond to calls on Monday seeking comment.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

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