- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A lawsuit alleges that the former head of an elite Los Angeles County prosecution unit sexually harassed two women employees and denied them good assignments for refusing to accept his advances.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Superior Court, names the county and Deputy District Attorney Gary Hearnsberger, who was chosen in 2011 to head the DA’s Major Crimes Division, which prosecutors high-profile homicides.

Hearnsberger denied the allegations Thursday, saying he was being falsely accused. “Any kind of sexual allegations with me, her, them or other lawyers in major crimes or any other place where I’ve been head deputy is completely and totally untrue,” he told the Los Angeles Times (https://lat.ms/1DBCheu ).

According to the lawsuit, Hearnsberger repeatedly touched the buttocks of Beth Silverman and Tannaz Mokayef and made crude sexual remarks and gestures. When they rejected his advances, Hearnsberger allegedly swore and screamed at them and punished the women by assigning them non-active “stale” cases.

Career-enhancing cases went to other women attorneys “who engaged (in) sexually explicit banter with him, allowed him to touch and grope them, and/or provided sexual favors,” the suit alleged.

The lawsuit contends that Hearnsberger also referred to black women in one of Silverman’s cases as “whores,” joked about the anatomy of a transgender defense attorney and used mocking sexual language in reference to rape victims who had been drugged.

After the women complained to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Hearnsberger was moved to the Public Integrity Division but wasn’t disciplined and still controls cases within his old division, according to the lawsuit.

Hearnsberger described the women as best friends who were disgruntled over other work-related issues.

The suit “not only suggests that I’m doing something wrong, but it suggests that the other women assigned to the division are doing something to get good cases. It’s outrageous,” he said.

The women could not be reached for comment, the Times said. A message to their attorney, Gregory W. Smith, from The Associated Press seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

The district attorney’s office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Moralez declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide