By Audrey Washington
HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A former Henry County SVU police officer wants her former police captain held accountable for what she said were years of sexual harassment.
Wednesday, Christina Gatchel along with her attorney revealed a photo.
The photo showed now-retired Henry County Police Capt. Norman “Woody” Fowler with his hand on Gatchel’s rear-end.
“I’m fighting to hold the police captain who sexually battered me both criminally and civilly responsible,” said Gatchel.
Gatchel said she was groped by Fowler during his retirement party in 2021.
“There happened to be a photographer who knew what Fowler had a reputation for and took the picture,” attorney Constance Cooper said.
Cooper said it was clear her client was uncomfortable in the photo.
“She’s trying to avoid physical contact during that hug,” Cooper explained.
Cooper was asked what kind of relationship, if any Gatchel had with Fowler.
“They had a professional relationship.”
“Just a professional relationship?”
Gatchel said she is one of eight women who reported sexual harassment by Fowler.
Gatchel said she reported Fowler but was told the Henry County Solicitor’s Office would not pursue charges.
“Officer Gatchel nonetheless moved forward, and Captain Fowler was allowed to enter an Alford guilty plea to misdemeanor sexual battery,” Cooper explained.
An Alford plea means the guilty plea is not an admission of guilt by Fowler that is binding on a civil action.
Gatchel said she plans to move forward with the civil case.
“Everyone who protects and serves, man or woman deserves to be protected and to serve on equal footing,” Gatchel said.
The lawsuit also alleges the chief of police and the human resources director failed to act when Gatchel notified them about the accusations.