El Monte police officer claims repeated sexual harassment

by Andrew Blankstein (LA Now/LA Times)
October 16, 2009


A veteran El Monte police officer claims in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed for years by colleagues, including a supervisor who repeatedly commented on her body and told her women should not be cops but made “natural waitresses and food servers.”

Mechelle Marin alleged in an 18-page complaint that supervisors in the El Monte Police Department looked the other way when she was harassed and intimidated, and took no disciplinary action against those who allegedly did it.

“Officer Marin’s efforts to obtain relief by filing internal complaints have thus far been futile,” said her attorney, Solomon E. Gresen. His client is seeking damages for emotional distress and lost earnings and job opportunities.

A department spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Gresen said his client was repeatedly subjected to improper comments about her clothing and body and that one supervisor named in the lawsuit suggested Marin could trade time off for sexual favors. That same supervisor, the suit claims, would look directly into Marin’s chest while speaking to her.

When Marin continued to complain about the alleged conduct, the supervisor made comments that were generally directed at women, opining “at various times that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ and that women ‘are natural waitresses and food servers,'” she said in the lawsuit.

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