Civil charges of sexual harassment have been levied against Bourne Building Inspector Kenneth L. Murphy.
Local developer Vincent P. Michienzi brought the suit. He claims that Mr. Murphy spoke inappropriately about Mr. Michienzi’s wife, Noreen P. Michienzi.
The civil lawsuit, filed in Barnstable Superior Court on June 8, charges the defendant, Mr. Murphy with five counts, including intentional interference with advantageous relationship with a third party; breach of fiduciary duty; civil harassment; intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Mr. Michienzi is suing for $500,000 in damages.
In his complaint, Mr. Michienzi claims that during several encounters with Mr. Murphy, the building inspector made sexually inappropriate comments about Ms. Michienzi.
Mr. Michienzi makes specific mention of a meeting on December 9, 2019, shortly after Mr. Murphy had been hired to replace former building inspector Roger M. Laporte. During that meeting, which was attended by Mr. Laporte, Mr. Michienzi asked Mr. Murphy when he would be receiving a pending building permit.
“Kenneth Murphy responded to Plaintiff by asking, ‘When can I date your wife?’” Mr. Michienzi’s suit claimed.
A month later, on January 14, the two men met at the former Krua Thai restaurant at 100 Main Street in Buzzards Bay. The Krua Thai moved across the street into a new building, and Mr. Michienzi was in the process of renovating the old building into a new ice cream parlor.
Mr. Michienzi and Mr. Murphy were at the 100 Main Street site in January to do an inspection. On that occasion, Mr. Michienzi said, Mr. Murphy again asked about dating Ms. Michienzi.
Confirmation of both incidents were provided in the lawsuit by Mr. Laporte and Derek Fernandes, a subcontract employee of Michienzi Management.
Mr. Fernandes additionally testified that after Mr. Murphy asked about dating Ms. Michienzi, he saw the building inspector “do a gesture with his fist behind Mr. Michienzi’s back.”
“I took the fist pump gesture as a gesture as engaging in sex,” Mr. Fernandes said.
A statement from former Bourne Health Inspector Carly Cote noted several instances of sexually inappropriate comments made by Mr. Murphy towards town employees and one elected board member, all of them women. She described Mr. Murphy as “inappropriate in a creepy way.”
“When I suspect he is starting to go in the same direction with me,” she said, “I just ask how his twenty-three-year-old daughter is, as that is my age.”
Ms. Cote left her position with the health department in February. She also testified that, during her exit interview with Assistant Town Administrator Glenn D. Cannon, she expressed being “disheartened to work for an administration that does not address violations of sexual harassment.”
A summons was issued to Mr. Murphy on July 1. He responded with a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was filed on August 10.