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HUNTINGTON PARK : Police Officer Settles Sex Harassment Case With City

A Huntington Park police officer--whose sexual harassment complaint against the city triggered an internal investigation that led to the removal of the police chief and two other officers--has settled her case for $187,500 and is scheduled to return to work Monday, city officials said Thursday.

Officer Gina Scolari filed a harassment claim earlier this year that named Police Chief Frank Sullivan, who was placed on administrative leave in May, and Sgt. Robert Mercado, who was fired last month for falsifying a police report and other misconduct.

“She’s really looking forward to getting back to work and it looks like it will be a better place to work because of what she’s gone through,” said Scolari’s attorney, Jack O’Donnell.

Scolari, 30, had been with the department nearly four years when she alleged that Mercado, then her supervisor, had sexually harassed her. She alleged that Mercado attempted to grab her and verbally abused her.

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During the investigation, city attorneys took testimony from more than a dozen officers who raised additional allegations against Sullivan, Mercado and other members of the Crime Impact Team, an elite eight-man unit that was disbanded in 1992.

The allegations spurred an internal investigation that led to the dismissal of Mercado and Officer Keith Walker, who was fired Aug 4. for overtime fraud.

Mercado and Walker plan to appeal their dismissals to the county Civil Service Commission, their attorney said.


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