The highest-ranking female officer with the scandal-ridden South Pasadena Police Department has filed a claim for more than $500,000, alleging she was sexually harassed by a co-worker and that Chief Thomas Mahoney failed to take proper action after she complained, city officials disclosed Thursday.
Lt. Joyce Ezzell, who last year headed an internal investigation which found that seven police officers had sexual relations with a female volunteer, alleges she was subject to sexual harassment by a co-worker and suffered distress from July 1996 to October 1996, according to the claim.
Subsequent to the alleged harassment, Ezzell wrote in her claim, Mahoney failed to take action required by federal law, and information about her complaint was disclosed to the media and she was subject to gender discrimination. Named in the claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, are Mahoney and South Pasadena Police Sgt. Mark Miller.
Ezzell, 54, alleges that the harassment and its aftermath damaged her professional reputation. She also says it led to severe embarrassment and emotional and physical distress that resulted in four months on disability leave with a loss of salary and benefits.
Last month, Mahoney agreed to retire April 1 after being told he was going to be terminated.
City Manager Sean Joyce said he had hoped that a report on the Police Department by private investigators, which blamed poor management and procedures for the scandals, would bring closure. But, he said, problems such as Ezzell’s claim keep surfacing and creating controversy.