FDNY ‘boys club’ protects sexual harassers: Lawsuit

An FDNY paramedic claims male colleagues peppered her with penis pics and dating requests — then retaliated when she rejected and reported them by sending her to “violent” areas of the city and forcing her to clean “dangerously” bloody ambulances.

A “boys club” within the department protected coworkers and supervisors who allegedly snapped photos of Maria Miranda’s chest, screamed at her, “stalked” her on the job and denied her pay, she alleges in a lawsuit.

“They made me hate going to work,” she told The Post. “It breaks my heart, because I love what I do. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”

Fellow paramedic Philip Jugenheimer, who worked the tour before Miranda’s and would often hand off an ambulance to her, started asking for dates and sending Miranda photos of his genitals shortly after she joined Station 4 on the Lower East Side in December 2014, she charges in Manhattan Federal Court papers filed against the FDNY and the city.

Philip Jugenheimer
Maria Miranda’s lawsuit accuses Philip Jugenheimer of asking for dates and sending her illicit pics.

When the former Marine finally realized his overtures weren’t succeeding, he began leaving the ambulance “filthy, lacking supplies and littered with used needles and his personal belongings. Sometimes there was even blood on the floor,” she said in legal papers.

Around the same time, her boss, Lt. Jon Phelan, promised her prime schedules and overtime if she dated him — then allegedly withheld her time sheets, screamed at her and stalked her when she declined, according to court papers.

The FDNY allegedly failed to keep complaints confidential, repeatedly declared Miranda’s concerns “unsubstantiated” despite multiple witnesses, and did little more than switch some of the accused’s shifts around, she charged.

Jon Phelan
Court papers allege that Lt. Jon Phelan promised prime schedules and OT if Miranda dated him.

It’s not the first time the FDNY has been accused of ignoring harassment complaints. In 2019 a former “Jersey Shore” star-turned-EMT sued after male bosses allegedly hounded her for sex, and earlier this year, an ex-Marine said the department failed to take action against colleagues who harassed him over his military service.

The abuse got so bad for Miranda, 42, who was known as the “Station Mom” because she cooked and cared for new recruits, she once vomited at work.

When a supervisor reported Phelan’s alleged abuse of Miranda to the FDNY’s Equal Employment Opportunity office, Phelan began a “campaign of abuse” which still impacts her, she charges in the lawsuit.

Phelan’s pal, Lt. James Scordus, who is currently facing sex abuse charges for allegedly inappropriately touching an NYPD officer in Brooklyn in October 2019, also denied her overtime, refused to keep her ambulance stocked with the vital narcotics, and once wrote her up for wearing a pink FDNY breast cancer awareness hat, according to court papers.

Lt. Jim Scordus
Lt. James Scordus is accused in court papers of denying Miranda OT, refusing stock her ambulance with vital narcotics and once writing her up for wearing a pink FDNY breast cancer awareness hat.
Christopher Sadowski

Last year, after she experienced COVID-19 symptoms and took required leave, another boss sent her to fill in for paramedics throughout the city, resulting in her working “significantly more stabbings, shootings, and slashings,” she said in the legal filing.

“New York City prides itself on its strong anti-harassment and retaliation laws …  It’s time for the City to start living up to its own standard and protect the victims of harassment and retaliation instead of covering up for the perpetrators,” said her lawyer, Denise Schulman. 

When contacted by The Post, Phelan denied having worked with Miranda, said he’d retired and hung up.

Dirty ambulance
The inside of an unstocked FDNY ambulance.

Scordus has been “saving lives for 27 years and is currently a supervisor in the fight against COVID-19,” and was “shocked and hurt” by the allegations, said his lawyer, Oliver Storch.

The city said it would review the complaint. Miranda, who is still on the job, is seeking unspecified damages. Jugenheimer could not be reached.

“If I leave, they win,” she said. “Why should I be scared to go to work? Why should I have all this stuff going on because these people in the ‘boys club’ want to protect each other and do what ever they want to do?”