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LAPD bomb squad officer sues the city over alleged sexual harassment

LAPD bomb squad officer sues the city over alleged sexual harassment
An LAPD bomb squad vehicle in Playa del Rey in 2014. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

LAPD supervisors refused to protect a bomb squad officer from another officer who stalked and harassed her for months, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

In April 2016, the lawsuit alleges, LAPD Officer Harry Lathrop told Officer Stefanie Alcocer, a fellow bomb technician, that he had been "madly in love" with her for six years and would leave his wife for her. Alcocer, who has a domestic partner also in the LAPD, told Lathrop that "it was never going to happen" and to "give her space."

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But according to the complaint, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Lathrop began to stalk Alcocer. He showed up at restaurants where Alcocer was eating; drove by and followed her when she was working; bombarded her with text messages, emails and phone calls; and showed up at her hotel on a work trip, even when she had "arranged to stay at a hotel that was a significant distance from Officer Lathrop's hotel."

In May, the complaint says, she had to push him away after "Officer Lathrop approached [Alcocer] and kissed her." At one point he "punched an LAPD truck" after she refused to talk to him in an LAPD parking lot.

In June Alcocer took the texts, emails and voicemails to her supervisor and complained about Lathrop's behavior, but her supervisor didn't take the evidence of harassment, according to the lawsuit. She told her supervisor that Lathrop had access to "dangerous explosives," and she feared that he would try to hurt her or others.

Alcocer alleges that she had to request that her schedule be rearranged so the two didn't work the same shifts. But the suit says her supervisor still required her to work a shift with him at least once after that, and that Lathrop found excuses to be in the office, at his desk next to hers, during her shifts.

In December, after Lathrop "was finally removed from the bomb squad," he was allowed to keep his city-issued car and phone, and his captain ordered the department not to reassign his equipment and gear, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the department created a hostile environment for Alcocer, and discriminated against her based on her sexual orientation.

"We have yet to review the complaint and we have no further comment at this time," said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.

LAPD spokesman Tony Im said the department does not comment on pending litigation. He did not know whether Lathrop and Alcocer still work for the department.

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