An openly gay St. Louis County police
officer claims in a lawsuit that he was unfairly overlooked for
advancement because of his sexuality.
According to the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, Sgt. Keith Wildhaber, a 22-year St.
Louis County police veteran, is suing the department for
Wildhaber alleges in his complaint that
a former St. Louis County Police Board member told him to “tone
down [his] gayness” if he wanted to be promoted.
According to the suit, Wildhaber was
told by John Saracino in 2014 that the command staff had a problem
with his sexuality.
“If you ever want to see a white
shirt, you should tone down your gayness,” Saracino said, a
reference to a promotion. Saracino, who is no longer a member of the
department's civilian police board, has denied he made the statement.
In 2014 and again the following year,
Wildhaber was ranked third among 26 people who took a promotions
test, the suit claims. Despite glowing performance reviews,
Wildhaber has repeatedly been overlooked for a promotion.
Wildhaber served four years in the Army
and the department gave him a medal of valor in 1998 for rescuing
someone from a burning car.