POLICE Capt. Anthony Washington, who for years has had a string of troubling accusations lodged against him, has been promoted to an inspector in the narcotics unit.

At least four officers have filed lawsuits against Washington, commander of the 17th District, in Point Breeze, accusing him of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. These officers have also filed Equal Employment Opportunity complaints against him.

One officer suing Washington, Sgt. John Massi, alleges that Washington routinely threatened and harassed him in the 17th District, only to have Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel allegedly warn Massi that Washington "is my friend - don't f--- with him."

Taxpayers have already paid $75,000 to settle two federal sexual-harassment lawsuits filed by other cops against Washington, a 24-year veteran.

Fourteen people outside the Police Department have lodged complaints against him, but Internal Affairs has deemed all of them unfounded. The Daily News in September chronicled the lawsuits and allegations against Washington.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said this week that because Washington did well on the civil-service exam, he was in line for the promotion.

Ramsey said that he initially put the promotion on hold because Washington had two open internal investigations.

One complaint alleged that Washington inappropriately touched a woman at a card party, but Washington didn't attend the party and couldn't have done it, Ramsey said.

Another allegation couldn't be substantiated, because the person involved refused to cooperate with investigators.

"There's nothing against him now, so there is no reason not to promote him," Ramsey said.

"I can't operate on rumor or innuendo," he said. "I have to deal with facts."

Washington will act as a liaison in narcotics with all federal agencies in drug investigations, Ramsey said.