People in highly public positions can find themselves subject to sexual harassment, just as can men and women whose names do not appear in the newspaper. In an example local to Los Angeles, two deputy district attorneys are suing their former supervisor and Los Angeles County, accusing the supervisor of groping them and saying sexually explicit things in their presence.
The plaintiffs worked under the defendant in the L.A. County District Attorney’s office’s Major Crimes Division, which prosecutes high-profile cases. According to the lawsuit, the supervisor routinely favored female attorneys in his department who allowed him to touch them or engage in explicit banter. Those women would receive better assignments and boosts to their careers, the suit alleges.
The suit also claims that the supervisor did not limit this conduct to “consenting” females. One of the plaintiffs said that he would sneak up from behind her to touch her buttocks or hip as she walked outside the office or across the street.
The plaintiff rejected his advances. In reaction, the supervisor began criticizing her work and personality, denying her assignments and cursing at her in front of the office.
The second plaintiff, who joined the Major Crimes Division last year, says the defendant also groped her against her will. He also allegedly would make unwanted advances, such as telling the plaintiff “she smelled good, or words to that effect.”
Following an investigation into the plaintiffs’ complaints, the defendant was reassigned to another unit, but did not lose his job. He denies the accusations.