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Louisville Cop Sues City After Fellow Officers Accuse Him Of Being A Pedophile For Saying He’s Gay At Youth Event

Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department officer John Burgraff alleges he was subjected to inappropriate remarks by fellow officers and passed over for a promotion after revealing he was gay at a 2017 police youth program.

He was also accused of being a pedophile.

Now Burgraff is suing the city of Louisville and the police, citing discrimination because of his sexuality.

The lawsuit was filed at Jefferson Circuit Court on behalf of Burgraff last week.

According to WDRB, the suit claims Burgraff was mistreated after he came out to the Youth Police Advisory Committee, which aims to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the young community through discussions promoting trust and understanding.

Burgraff introduced himself to the teens as the LMPD LGBTQ+ liaison.

But Lt. Phil Russell–the department’s commanding officer for the Media & Public Relations Unit–felt that Burgraff revealed too much information to the teens in light of an unrelated investigation into the department regarding a sexual exploitation scandal.

Burgraff felt the repercussions of outing himself at the mentorship meeting the following day.

He claimed that Russell ordered Sgt. Corey Robinson to reprimand him for coming out to the YPAC.

The suit says Russell implied Burgraff’s behavior bordered on one that was pedophilic in nature.

“He claimed his remarks were not appropriate for a youth event, and that Officer Burgraff was looking at a young male inappropriately.”

It also added that Burgraff had been:

“looking lustfully or suggestively at a boy in the audience.”

An open investigation was launched after Burgraff reported Russell’s comments to the chief’s office.

However, Police Chief Steve Conrad said Russell’s charge of Burgraff making “inappropriate comments” was not sustained, meaning there wasn’t enough sufficient evidence of prejudice.

The suit also mentioned that Burgraff took a vacation to avoid working with Russell who remained as his commanding officer in the Community Policing Unit.

When Burgraff returned to work in January 2018, he expressed his concerns to Major Andrea Brown about being required to report to Russell.

In response, Brown told him that the other officers agreed that what Russell said “was not that bad.”


Burgraff was also denied an update on the PSU investigation and was refused to be given a copy of the report and files.

He also believes he was passed over for an opportunity to transfer to the Public Information Unit.

WDRB reported that the lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.

The lawsuit follows a similar incident in which St. Louis County Police Sgt. Keith Wildhaber–who is openly gay–was warned to “tone down his gayness” and was passed over for a promotion.

The book Your Rights in the Workplace: An Employee’s Guide to Fair Treatment is available here.

If you feel you are being discriminated against in the workplace based on race, color, age, disability, or sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), you can file a Charge of Discrimination through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.

The EEOC requires that you must file a charge within 45 days of an occurrence or of when you became aware of the occurrence and before filing a lawsuit for unlawful discrimination.

EEOC cannot accept discrimination charges over the phone, but you can get the process started by calling 1-800-669-4000 to discuss your situation.


Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1