By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned the woman who managed Denver’s public safety cadet program has been fired for bullying cadets, calling female cadets “bitches,” inappropriate touching and what was termed “coarse and crass behavior.”
Manager of Safety Stephanie O’Malley fired Kim Fresquez earlier this week. CBS4 had previously reported Fresquez had been placed on leave July 7 in connection with her treatment of the cadets under her guidance.
Fresquez was the manager of Denver’s public safety cadet program. She supervised 46 young people who are given the chance to train to be Denver police officers, sheriff deputies or firefighters while they attend college. They are paid to train for potential careers in public safety.
A termination letter obtained by CBS4 portrays Fresquez’s behavior in supervising the young cadets as unprofessional and inappropriate. In June, one cadet complained that Fresquez “engaged in conduct that was considered ‘bullying.’”
Following that complaint, an outside investigator was brought in to look into the grievances from cadets. According to the termination letter, “This investigation found numerous instances of unprofessional and inappropriate conduct by you since taking over the cadet program in September 2015.”
The investigation reported Fresquez “referring to female cadets as either ‘bitch’ or ‘bitches.’ When one cadet showed you a high school photograph of herself, you said, ‘You look like a bitch.’
The probe also stated Fresquez inappropriately touched cadets, including slapping a male cadet “on his butt” and rubbing the shoulders of male cadets.
In another case, Fresquez “lifted the shorts of a female cadet to reveal a tattoo on her leg.” The cadet said she felt “shocked and embarrassed” as the incident took place in front of other cadets.
On another topic, the letter states Fresquez had some cadets work more than 40 hours without being paid overtime, “Your frequent use of profanity and poor judgment in how you interact with the cadets is inapposite to the kind of safety professionals we are trying to grow in the Department of Safety.”
In a written statement, Fresquez admitted to using inappropriate language and apologized for allowing cadets to work more than 40 hours without overtime pay. Fresquez has 15 days to appeal her termination. She has not responded to messages from CBS4 seeking comment.