Brett Williams to receive $768K in gay-bias ruling against Colorado State Patrol
Now, the judge in the case has determined how much the CSP will have to pay out: $768,000. But while that's a considerable chunk of change, Williams's attorney expresses surprise the amount wasn't higher, and Williams himself stresses that the case was never about cash.
When we spoke to Williams in July 2012, he stressed how much he loved working for the CSP, where he rose to the rank of captain in twelve years. But he said he knew he couldn't return to the job there due to what he saw as an anti-gay culture at the Patrol -- one exemplified by a background exam and polygraph during which Williams was quizzed about everything from porn to child molestation.
State Personnel Judge Mary McClatchey agreed with his prejudice claims. She determined that in dealing with Williams, the State Patrol had demonstrated a clear bias against homosexuals. Due to actions she described as "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law," she awarded Williams "front pay" -- defined as a damage award representing the additional pay he would have earned if he'd been reinstated -- in addition to attorney fees and costs.
But the money wasn't immediately forthcoming. The Colorado Department of Public Safety disagreed with the ruling and announced its plans to appeal -- although the department's executive director, Jim Davis said the CSP would voluntarily comply with a number of orders issued by McClatchey, including diversity training and a command-level contact person specifically designated to deal with gay personnel.
These apparent concessions didn't convince Williams that the atmosphere for gays at the State Patrol would improve.
"I know they said they'd implement policies and training, but they already have policies in place, and they weren't followed," he said. "And the people who put me through this are still in control. So I don't believe there will be any change."
The narrative contained in the original decision document, on view below, notes that Williams received exemplary evaluations during his time with the CSP, but also maintained that he was the subject of gay rumors. Nonetheless, he was the guest of honor at a going-away party after he decided to leave the patrol in February 2010 in order to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.
Williams subsequently attended a flight training school and became a reserve police officer in Brighton. But just a few months later, in April, he sent his boss, Chief James Wolfinbarger, an e-mail and attached letter explaining that he missed the work and camaraderie of the patrol and asked to be reinstated.
Wolfinbarger explained that Williams would have to come back as a trooper, not a captain, and he'd also be made to undergo a polygraph exam and a full background investigation.
A form required by the latter included the question, "Since the age of eighteen, have you ever been involved in the making, viewing, possessing, marketing or distributing of child pornography in any form?" The query prompted Williams to recall an occasion a couple of years earlier when he was viewing pornography on a website and a video popped up featuring someone he suspected was underage. Although he quickly clicked out of the video, he answered "yes" in an effort to be completely honest.
During a pre-interview for the polygraph examination, child porn was a major topic of conversation. Additionally, Williams admitted that during a visit to Thailand, he had paid for a massage that had concluded with a happy ending -- something that was perfectly legal there. Shortly thereafter, the examiner asked if the masseuse had been male or female, and Williams, who had not shared his sexual orientation with his supervisors or co-workers, replied, "Male" -- essentially outing himself against his will.
Continue for more about the latest developments in Brett Williams's story, including a video and multiple documents.