SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – A former Sullivan’s Island police officer has filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming persistent and unchecked sexual harassment by her superior ultimately caused her to lose her job.
The lawsuit details graphic circumstances over a period of two years during which former Sullivan’s Island Police Department (SIPD) Officer Amanda Capone said she was subjected to constant sexual harassment by Deputy Town Administrator Jason Blanton.
Capone said that the harassment began with Blanton asking her inappropriate questions about her marriage and sex life — noting that she believed she was the first openly homosexual officer on SIPD — and making comments about her physical appearance.
Over time, she described things escalating to Blanton repeatedly texting and calling her, often isolating her in his office, and making more overt advances. Capone recalled moments that made her particularly uncomfortable, such as Blanton complimenting her then “licking his lips,” and — upon finding out Capone and her wife were exploring IVF –“saying he could inseminate Capone’s wife for free.”
Capone said that she tried to report the misconduct multiple times, especially when it appeared to interfere with her career. She claimed that pay was wrongfully withheld when she took a sick day for an IVF appointment, though it had been approved by the chief, and when she tried to have a meeting with Blanton and the chief, Blanton insisted she come alone. That issue was eventually resolved.
Capone also claimed that she was made to jump through hoops when she was up for a promotion and that Blanton was trying to turn other employees against her.
According to the suit, Capone brought her concerns to Blanton’s supervisor, Town Administrator Andy Benke several times, with the support of SIPD Chief Chris Griffin.
After what Capone described as much pressure from her and higher ups in the police department, the town investigated and Blanton admitted to many of the inappropriate comments.
As punishment, the Town Council “voted to suspend Blanton for three days, to demote him, and to cut his pay.” Though Blanton would no longer be Capone’s supervisor, though there could still be situations in which they were required to work together.
Capone took an extended sick leave due to the stress the situation was causing and what she described as fear for her safety and fear of retaliation. She was then placed on administrative leave with no end date given.
Ultimately, Capone resigned from SIPD. She is now suing the town for negligence, negligent supervision, negligent retention, intentional infliction of emotional distress, retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful intrusion into private affairs.
News 2 reached out to Sullivan’s Island for comment. Town Administrator Andy Benke said that the town does not comment on pending litigation.