Allegations of sexual harassment have been raised against District Attorney candidate and former Los Angeles police officer George Gascón. The allegations, reported last night in the newsletter of freelance journalist Yashar Ali, date to around 20 to 25 years ago, when Gascón was a member of the LAPD.
Two women, both of whom asked Ali not to publish their names, say Gascón made inappropriate remarks or advances towards them between the mid-1990s to early-2000s. Both women were LAPD officers of lower rank than Gascón, who was Assistant Chief of Police by the time he left the force. The primary source of the allegations is also a former president of the union that represents officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, though is no longer a member of that organization.
“[…H]e had a sense of entitlement based upon his position in the Department. During a period of time, while I was the President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, he made several sexual advances toward me, and continually attempted to manipulate situations to attempt to start a sexual relationship. Finally, after several attempts and several “no’s”, I began to avoid any meeting with him,” reads a statement from the former lieutenant. “I did not speak out then because I was a female at a level much lower than he was and was concerned about the retaliation he could unleash on not just me, but my members.”
Gascón’s campaign fully denies the allegations, characterizing them as a politically motivated attack.
“Survivors must be given a voice, and DA Gascón takes allegations of sexual harassment incredibly seriously. He holds himself and the thousands whom he has had the privilege to lead to the highest ethical and professional standards, and he denies these last-minute accusations in the strongest possible terms,” campaign communications director Max Szabo told Ali. “We urge your readers to weigh the credibility of 20-year-old allegations made on the eve of an election by the former president of the police union investing 1 million dollars to defeat him.”
The former lieutenant says that it was seeing Gascón’s campaign point out issues of sexual misconduct within the D.A.’s office overseen by incumbent Jackie Lacey that pushed her to come forward when she did.
“When George said in a statement that ‘nobody should have to work in fear’ of successful harassment, and failure to stop harassment falls on ‘management,’ I was angry at the utter hypocrisy of that statement,” the statement says.
She says she first attempted to contact Rep. Adam Schiff in July, days after he withdrew his endorsement of incumbent DA Lacey. In August, the former lieutenant attempted to contact Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was also then walking back his earlier support for Lacey. According to emails she provided, she first sent her statement to Garcetti on August 17, but received no response.
On Sunday, October 4, the day Garcetti formally endorsed Gascón, she reached out again, this time forwarding the email to the city hall email address of Ana Guerrero, Garcetti’s chief of staff. Guerreo replied the next day, noting that she would “forward [the] email to the appropriate address.” As a city employee, Guerreo ethics rules prohibit the use work time, equipment, or accounts for political campaign matters.
“Former L.A. police union leader and retired LAPD [lieutenant] sent Chief of Staff Ana Guerrero an email to her city email account asking about the Mayor’s endorsement in the 2020 L.A. County District Attorney’s race,” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar told Ali. “The email made a political request and did not make any requests of the City. We cannot and do not conduct political activity using city resources.”
Ali himself is currently involved in a separate sexual harassment complaint against now-former Garcetti advisor Rick Jacobs.
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