A second female Los Angeles police officer is suing the city alleging she suffered a backlash for complaining about sexual harassment by the same supervisor.
Detective Shelley Villanueva’s Los Angeles Superior Court complaint was filed Monday and alleges sexual harassment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified damages.
Villanueva alleges she was subjected to inappropriate remarks and gestures by Lt. Wayne Lightfoot, who retired in March.
“Plaintiff was asked by Lightfoot to retire and live with him in Florida,” Villanueva’s suit alleges.
A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office reacted to the complaint Thursday.
“We will review the complaint and I have no further comment,” Rob Wilcox said.
Villanueva was interviewed by a deputy city attorney in February regarding a similar case filed by Officer Linda Allstot, according to the suit.
“The allegations in the Allstot case were similar in some respects to plaintiff’s allegations in that Allstot was subjected to constant leering and unwanted sexual behavior by Wayne Lightfoot,” the suit states.
Five days after Villanueva was interviewed by the deputy city attorney, Deputy Chief Debra McCarthy approved the plaintiff’s removal from the Special Operations Division of the Professional Standards Bureau and transferred to a less important job in the Harbor Division, the suit alleges. The SOD surveils LAPD officers accused of misconduct, the suit states.
McCarthy was the deputy chief of the PSB and Lightfoot reported to her, Villanueva’s lawsuit states.
“Lightfoot wielded considerable power … since he as the point man for McCarthy,” the Villanueva suit states.
In March, the LAPD told Villanueva that she was no longer being asked to testify during the trial of Allstot’s lawsuit, the suit states.
A jury on April 5 awarded Allstot $3 million in damages. However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin found the amount to be excessive, saying there was insufficient evidence to support the panel’s finding that Allstot’s future emotional distress would cost $2 million. Fruin gave Allstot the choice of accepting a reduced award of $1 million or facing a new trial on the issue of damages. Allstot agreed to a $1 million judgment.
Allstot said that after she complained about Lightfoot’s behavior toward her, the department retaliated against her complaining by having undercover officers monitor her.
Allstot blamed McCarthy for allegedly not taking steps to stop Lightfoot from using his position to harass her.