North Providence police lieutenant to return to work in near future

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A police lieutenant who filed a sexual harrassment lawsuit against the town is expected to return to work in the near future.

Diana Perez, who is the department’s highest-ranking officer, filed the suit late last year, claiming that Acting Chief Christopher Pelagio, Acting Deputy Chief Charles Davey, and Mayor Charles Lombardi discriminated against her because of her gender and created a hostile work environment. Perez claimed that she was retaliated against after taking her complaints to Mayor Lombardi. A federal judge later dismissed the suit against Lombardi specifically.

Vincent Ragosta, attorney for the town, confirmed Thursday night that Perez is expected to return to duty within three weeks, if not sooner.

“Chief [David] Tikoian welcomes her return to duty and her continued service as a valued and productive member of the Department’s leadership team,” he wrote in an email.

Tikoian, formerly of the Rhode Island State Police, took over as the town’s police chief in August after Pelagio resigned following an altercation between Pelagio and a Cranston police officer earlier in the year.

An investigation conducted by the town and released this past March found that Perez’s allegations were legally unfounded, although the 74-page report concluded that some of the comments made to Perez by her superiors were “objectively offensive.”

Perez’s lawsuit, however, continues to work its way through federal court in Providence. She is demanding damages for stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, other injury, and lost opportunities.