ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The suspended head of Rochester’s police accountability board is celebrating an action from the state that he says puts him one step closer to getting his job back.
Conor Dwyer Reynolds posted a letter from The New York State Division of Human Rights Tuesday, which says the state has found probable cause that he was subject to unlawful discriminatory practices because of gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation.
The NYS Division of Human rights will not confirm nor deny the action, which is common practice.
“I’ve been crying tears of relief,” Dwyer Reynolds said in a statement issued Tuesday. “It has been excruciating to see so many withhold support until the state investigation ended. No one who speaks up about sexual harassment should have to wait six months to be taken seriously. This was an important step toward accountability; the next is my returning to work.”
PAB leadership has not yet provided a response. Rochester City Council President Miguel Melendez confirmed the city was aware of the determination, calling it an ongoing process that needs to work its way through the NY Division of Human Rights.
Dwyer Reynolds filed the complaint following his suspension, which happened in May. He said he was suspended without cause one week after reporting alleged sexual harassment by then-PAB Chair Shani Wilson.
In a June blog post, Dwyer Reynolds said Wilson called him a “unicorn” and told him she found him attractive when she discovered he was bisexual. He claims she went to his house on the night of November 20, 2020, “attempted to get [him] inebriated,” and asked to sleep with him.
“When I rejected her repeated advances, Shani used the power she holds over me at the PAB to punish me,” Reynolds wrote.
Wilson stepped down days later, saying, “While I maintain that the accusations against me are false, I recognize that the best thing for this organization, the residents of this city, and my wellness and safety is that I resign.”
The Division of Human Rights previously found probable cause against Reynolds for a complaint filed by the PAB’s associate general counsel, Chenoa Maye.
The City of Rochester’s separate investigation into Reynolds’ suspension is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Duwaine Bascoe was named PAB acting director in May. A group of PAB employees signed letters calling for Bascoe to be terminated earlier this month, amid what they call “significant management issues plaguing the agency.”