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DALLAS -- Dallas Fire-Rescue internal affairs investigators have cleared a Dallas police recruit of allegations of sexual harassment made by a female recruit, according to statement released by the city.

Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez directed DFR's internal affairs to conduct the investigation after the female recruit's lawyers called for an independent investigation into the allegations against police recruit Matthew Lowe, whose father is a close friend of Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

The female recruit's earlier complaints of sexual harassment never made their way to the police department's internal affairs division, even though rules mandate that any allegation of sexual harassment be forwarded there.

DFR's investigators 'conducted a thorough investigation, interviewed over 50 employees, and reviewed documents provided by the witnesses. The investigation concluded that the allegations were unfounded,' the statement said.

Bob Gorsky, an attorney representing the female recruit, said he's disappointed in the outcome.

'Now I can understand why the fire department has cost the city a lot of money in sexual harassment settlements over the past several years,' Gorsky said.

A News 8 story earlier this week detailed the lengthy friendship between the recruit's father, Senior Cpl. Greg Lowe, and Chief Brown. The story revealed that Matthew Lowe had twice failed psychological exams once with the Dallas Police Department and a second time with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department before being hired by DPD in November 2013.

Rebecca Knutson, the female recruit, came forward in mid-March to allege that he had been sexually harassing her. She said she told commanders that he made inappropriate comments and sent inappropriate text messages, including one picture containing his naked buttocks.

'There's no way that a coworker can send a picture of his naked buttocks to another co-worker and it not be a violation of policy,' Gorsky said. 'The fact that she immediately said, 'Stop texting me,' made it very clear that it was unwelcome. They've basically said it's open season on texting co-workers pictures of intimate body parts and it not be a violation.'

Knutson said she told Lowe to stop, but he kept on.

On May 19, Knutson went public and filed a sexual harassment complaint with the city's human resources department.

In public statements, Brown consistently defended the decision of academy commanders not to send Knutson's initial complaint to internal affairs, saying they had determined the conduct had occurred while off-duty and not on city premises.

About two weeks later, the city manager ordered Dallas Fire-Rescue internal affairs to conduct the investigation of Knutson's sexual harassment complaint.

Public integrity investigators have, in recent days, launched an investigation into allegations of irregularities in Lowe's hiring process.

E-mail teiserer@wfaa.com

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