Chief Ranger Sues Her Bosses: 'The Time Has Come'

Michelle Schonzeit decries 'rampant sexual discrimination'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2018 3:15 PM CST
Chief Ranger Files $400K '#MeToo' Lawsuit
Raindrops sit on the plastic cover of a park ranger's hat in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A chief ranger at the National Park Service says she's done with rampant sexual discrimination on the job—so she's suing her bosses, the Washington Post reports. Michelle Schonzeit, 36, claims underqualified male applicants have been promoted over her. "The time has come for this pernicious form of discrimination and harassment to end," says her $400,000 lawsuit, per E&E News. "Put simply, the #MeToo movement has now entered the Interior Department." Schonzeit, who's chief ranger at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, says she took the job after failing to win the head ranger post at the Camp David Presidential retreat, which went to a less-qualified ranger in 2015.

"I have hired women in the past, and I do not believe women should be in law enforcement leadership positions," a superintendent apparently told her. Schonzeit—a 14-year veteran and likely the Park Service's top-ranking female law enforcement official—says she then lost out on another top post to a man who had only been overseeing three rangers. Schonzeit also claims her husband, Simeon Klebaner of the US Park Police, suffered "reprisal" for revealing what he knew of that decision. Schonzeit's Friday suit names incoming Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt as a defendant, but he has no comment. Lawmakers have already accused the National Park Service of fostering a "culture of sexual harassment," per the Post. (A female athlete was honored, then asked to twerk.)

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