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LAPD chief apologizes to family of former TV exec who accused ex-CBS boss of assault

Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb talks with Gloria Allred
The late Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, left, speaks with attorney Gloria Allred in September 2018, 11 months after she filed what she thought was a confidential complaint with the LAPD alleging that former CBS chief Leslie Moonves sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore has apologized to the family of a former television executive who accused former CBS chief Leslie Moonves of sexual misconduct.

The chief’s apology came after disclosures that a former LAPD captain in 2017 shared information about Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb’s allegations with CBS executives, including Moonves.

The LAPD was rattled last fall amid accusations that the former commander, Cory Palka, provided special treatment to Moonves when he was in charge of the LAPD’s Hollywood division. Palka allegedly worked to cover up Golden-Gottlieb’s sexual assault report in 2017 and 2018, according to a November report from New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James.

The disclosures prompted Moore to open an internal review into the conduct of a former member of his department.

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On Thursday, Moore and other LAPD officials met with Golden-Gottlieb’s adult children and lawyer, Gloria Allred.

“Chief Moore ... updated them on the status of the investigation, and apologized to them personally for the breach of trust by our former command officer when he shared information of their mother’s crime report with CBS executives,” LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz said in a statement Friday.

Jim Gottlieb and Cathy Weiss spoke fondly of their mother, who died last July, during a news conference Friday with Allred at her office in Los Angeles. Weiss said she was thankful that her mother didn’t live to see how her sexual assault complaint had been handled by the high-ranking LAPD officer.

“She kept [the alleged sexual assault] secret for so many decades, out of fear, even though she was a staunch feminist,” Weiss said. “She still was fearful about reporting, which is sort of ironic ... [because] decades later, when she came forward, she was almost silenced again.”

Weiss and her brother said they were pleased with their meeting with Moore and other LAPD officials.

“We feel that they are taking this matter very seriously,” Jim Gottlieb said. “The public in general, and especially people who file sexual assault complaints, need to have confidence that police will treat them as the victims they are without any hint of shaming, or worrying that their confidential report will be compromised in any way.”

The attorney general announced that CBS and Moonves would pay $30 million, with much of the money going to CBS shareholders.

It wasn’t until the November release of the New York attorney general’s report that Weiss and Gottlieb discovered the extent of the coordination between Palka, who has since retired, Moonves and others at CBS to bury their mother’s allegations.

In 2017, Golden-Gottlieb, then 81, accused Moonves of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1980s when they were colleagues at Lorimar Productions, the powerhouse television studio behind “Dallas” and “Knots Landing.” On Nov. 10, 2017, Golden-Gottlieb drove to the Hollywood station and filed a report. She checked a box on the form that indicated that she wanted the information to be kept confidential, according to Allred.

“I was so proud when my mom told me that she was going to report his conduct to the police,” Weiss said.

But over the next few months, the LAPD captain secretly provided Moonves and CBS executives with status updates on the LAPD’s investigation into Golden-Gottlieb’s claims as well as her police report, which included personal details about her, the attorney general’s office said. CBS executives then “began investigating the victim’s personal circumstances and that of her family,” the report said.

Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to bring charges in 2018 because the statute of limitations had expired.

Moonves, through a spokesman, declined to comment Friday. He has previously denied the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Palka was not available for comment.

The LAPD internal investigation, which looks “at the overall administrative handling of the case,” is ongoing, Muniz said Friday. “Chief Moore discussed [with the Gottlieb family] the investigative steps that were taken and at this point we don’t believe [Palka] was able to influence the investigation.”

Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb sitting at a desk
Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb in the 1980s when she worked at Lorimar Productions in Culver City.
(Courtesy of the Gottlieb family)

Allred said she requested the meeting with Moore on behalf of Golden-Gottlieb’s children.

The gathering allowed the family to “learn about [the department’s] commitment to investigate and hold accountable those who may have violated any laws or policies of the LAPD,” Jim Gottlieb said.

There are indications the investigation is widening.

“Los Angeles Police Department investigators are working with the United States Attorney General, the California Department of Justice, and the Los Angeles District Attorney on any open criminal investigations,” Muniz, the police captain, said.

The actions of former Cmdr. Cory Palka, a 34-year veteran of the LAPD who mingled with celebrities, are under scrutiny.

Golden-Gottlieb lodged her complaint against Moonves when the #MeToo movement was reaching a fever pitch. In 2018, Golden-Gottlieb also shared her story with The Times.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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