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L.A. City Councilman Sued For Sexual Harassment

Chrystal Li |
October 18, 2013 | 4:50 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar (Chrystal Li/Neon Tommy)
L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar (Chrystal Li/Neon Tommy)
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar responded Thursday to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former high-level staffer, saying his relationship with the plaintiff was “consensual.”

Earlier the same day, Huizar’s former deputy chief of staff Francine Godoy filed a suit claiming that the councilman retaliated against her for rejecting his sexual advances, the Los Angeles Times reports. Godoy, 34, has accused Huizar of sabotaging her campaign to run for a seat on L.A.’s community college board lawsuit, offering to endorse her only if she had sex with him. The lawsuit also states that Huizar later reduced Godoy’s job responsibilities and forced her to work from home.

The District 14 representative, who is married with four children, has denied the allegations.

“The claims of illegal sexual behavior… are absolutely false and malicious,” a legal spokesman for Huizar said in a statement. “The lawsuit fails to mention that Ms. Godoy and the Councilmember had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the Councilmember deeply regrets.”

Huizar, who represents Downtown, Boyle Heights and other eastside neighborhoods, was first elected to City Council in 2005. Godoy began working for him in 2006, and within a year, her salary nearly doubled from $47,000 to more than $90,000, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. She was eventually promoted to Huizar’s second-in-command, and was making more than $132,000 by the time she left his office for a Bureau of Sanitation job this April.

The allegations of sexual harassment first surfaced earlier this summer, when Godoy filed an official complaint with the state. In response, the Council formed a five-member committee to investigate her claims. Huizar will face punishment if the committee finds he sexually harassed Godoy, but not if it’s determined that their relationship was consensual.

Councilman Huizar did not attend Friday’s regular council meeting following the suit's filing, according to KPCC.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.

Reach Executive Producer Chrystal Li here.



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