A former Egg Harbor Township police officer who had alleged a “hostile and retaliatory work environment” has settled his suit with the department and 17 township employees for $110,000.
Robert Gleisberg, who served in the department from 1985 through 2007, filed a suit in 2008 claiming various incidents of misconduct in the police department. However, because the case never went to trial, those claims cannot be definitively proven or disproven.
In the original suit, Gleisberg claimed to have witnessed another officer being asked to consult with the county prosecutor so that officer could “find out what it is (the prosecutor) needs you to say.” He claimed he was retaliated against for objecting to that exchange as well as a departmental designation that was tantamount to a rank for officers who didn’t have enough college credits for promotion.
Gleisberg claimed that he was denied a position on the motorcycle unit in 2003 because of a perceived disability related to a prior back injury and his age. The suit alleges this was a violation of discrimination laws and another example of retaliation.
“The hostile and retaliatory work environment continued unabated,” the suit claims.
After being discharged in July 2007, the suit alleges the department refused to process Gleisberg’s paperwork, delaying his pension benefits and leaving him without medical insurance.
The settlement signed by both parties on April 25, with Gleisberg personally receiving $90,000 and his attorneys receiving $20,000. According to the agreement, which was obtained by open public records advocate John Paff, Gleisberg agreed not to discuss details of the case as part of the agreement. It states that the settlement “shall not . . . be construed or considered to be an admission by defendants of guilt.”
Gleisberg filed a previous suit against the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, claiming its Board of Trustees had disregarded a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a 1997 domestic violence incident at Shore Mall that Gleisberg had responded to as an Egg Harbor Township police officer.
According to court records, Gleisberg brought Melinda Flores, her 2-year-old daughter Katelyn and her cousin Elizabeth Rowles to the police station after her estranged husband, Luis Flores, struck Flores and tried to take the child. After returning Flores, Rowles and the child back to Shore Mall, Gleisberg planned to escort them until Somers Point police could finish the journey back to their home.
After being separated from Flores and a delay in relaying messages between the two departments, the three continued on to their home alone. Luis Flores fatally stabbed both women before being shot and killed by a Somers Point police officer who arrived on the scene. Gleisberg also responded to the scene, where he saw Melinda Flores’ body.
Gleisberg took photos of the victims’ gravestones, which he carried with him in the pocket of his uniform. In 2005, he showed the photos to a supervisor and was told to seek professional help. In 2007, the same year he was discharged from the police department, Gleisberg was diagnosed with PTSD and other disorders.
In March 2011, nearly four years after filing for accidental disability retirement benefits, state Superior Court upheld the denial of Gleisberg’s benefits.
Gleisberg and his attorneys, Clifford Van Syoc and D. William Subin, did not respond to requests for comment.
Lt. Robert Gray said he could not comment on the case and would direct questions to Chief Michael Morris’s office. There was no response Thursday.
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