A California Sheriff who became the first female sheriff in the state is the subject of multiple claims of sexual harassment by male subordinates.
45-year Santa Clara County veteran Sheriff Laurie Smith faces accusations of past sexual harassment after three former deputies of hers told ABC 7 that they were treated inappropriately by their leader.
The most notable accusation was a retirement letter delivered to the SCCSD by a 30-year correctional officer who asked not to be identified in case his children face repercussions.
You will recall how, on multiple occasions, you sexually harassed me,” he wrote.
The retired deputy’s attorney, Josh Boxer, said the corrections officer remained silent out of fear.
“He had experienced sexual harassment from Sheriff Smith and remained silent or largely silent, I should say, over the years fearing retaliation,” Boxer said.
According to ABC7, Smith was his supervisor at Main Jail when she first propositioned the lawman, and that she touched herself in a way that made him uncomfortable. Another time, he says she suggestively handled a police baton, and that she propositioned him a third time in a trailer while they worked the 1994 World Cup at Stanford Stadium.
Smith denied the allegations, saying that “these false narratives are nothing more than an orchestrated attack on the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office and my personal reputation,” before slinking away from reporters.
Boxer’s client has filed a lawsuit against the department, in hopes of deposing Laurie Smith in the next 30 to 60 days.
Another individual involved in the sex-scandal case of Smith is Gary Brady, who while performing undercover operations attended a convention with Smith, who was then the second-in-command.
After a night of drinking that weekend, they had an encounter in an unmarked county vehicle. When Brady -who, like Smith, was married- became uncomfortable, he asked her to stop.
“I said, you know, it’s time to go. It’s time to go,” he said.
Smith denies that she was even at the convention, despite photo evidence.
Brady claimed Smith retaliated after the incident, taking him off a special assignment.
“I always remember her vein on the left side just standing up,” Brady says. “And she told me, ‘It’s about time the females in this department get the good jobs.'”
One person familiar with Brady’s story was former correctional officer Ed Albanoski, who was victim number 3 after Smith exposed her breasts through an unbuttoned shirt.
After turning her down, he found himself facing her wrath when he was terminated after an accident that left him disabled.
“I was basically pleading with her to get my job back,” he said. “She goes, ‘Well, you should have been nicer to me.”
Again, Smith denied these allegations.
Albanoski and Brady tell us they have no plans to sue and are not after money, but they wanted their stories heard before this week’s election.
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