Three more deputy district attorneys have filed lawsuits against Orange County alleging that a former high-level DA supervisor sexually harassed them and DA Todd Spitzer retaliated against them after the abuse came to light.
The three new civil complaints filed Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court center on the alleged actions of former Senior Assistant District Attorney Gary Logalbo, a onetime close friend of Spitzer’s. The lawsuits cite a newly-released independent county report that found Spitzer bad-mouthed one of the women and improperly released the findings of an earlier investigation that determined Logalbo harassed four female attorneys under his supervision.
In November, one of the women – a Muslim and an Afghan-American war refugee – filed the first lawsuit against the county related to Logalbo, alleging he subjected her to sexual harassment and racist remarks. The three additional lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and racist remarks. The three additional lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and discrimination were filed on Tuesday, court records show. The plaintiffs in all four lawsuits are identified only as “Jane Doe.”
Attorney Matt Murphy – who is representing all four women – alleges in this week’s lawsuits that a second independent investigation was conducted by the county into allegations that Spitzer carried out a campaign of retaliation against Logalbo’s accusers. Murphy in the lawsuits describes the investigation as determining that Spitzer “flagrantly” violated county policy and acted with “malice” toward the women Logalbo was accused of harassing, creating a hostile work environment.
The Southern California News Group on Wednesday obtained a copy of the second confidential independent report, which was conducted for the county by attorney Elizabeth A. Frater and completed in August 2021.
Frater concluded that Spitzer violated county personnel policy by releasing the first report to more than 700 employees at the district attorney’s office and bad-mouthing one of the sexual harassment accusers to a local reporter. Spitzer, his chief adviser Shawn Nelson and spokesperson Kimberly Edds declined to be interviewed for the second report.
The report states that the accusers were deeply emotional and shaken when they heard the document would be released within days by Spitzer’s administration. Accusers who were not identified by name in the first report were terrified their co-workers would figure out who they were and would goad them. They thought no one would take their allegations seriously.
The report added, “the county was required by the (public records) statute to release the report to the media members who requested it. Mr. Spitzer was under no such obligation, and his release of the report to OCDA staff had no relation to the PRA requests” that had been filed.
The report noted that it was unclear whether Spitzer released the first report as a retaliatory act.
The document said “the weight of the evidence supports that Mr. Spitzer provided an employee’s personnel information to a reporter in May 2021, to deflect the negative evidence about his own actions during the Logalbo investigation … and thus, was a violation of the abusive conduct policy.”
Edds, the DA spokeswoman, said she, Spitzer and Nelson did not participate in the second investigation because they believed that a promise of confidentiality during the first investigation was broken with the public release of the first report into Logalbo’s conduct. Any “allegation of harassment or retaliation in the workplace – irrespective of the timing, potential motive or interpersonal relationships – has and will continue to be thoroughly investigated,” Edds added.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has and conitnues to fully support the victims of harassment by (Logalbo). The behavior he engaged in at the workplace is nothing short of vile,” Edds said. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office does not tolerate harassment of any kind in the workplace. We have and will continue to support anyone who believes he or she has been harassed.”
The lawsuits allege that Logalbo was known for telling crude stories, carrying out inappropriate conversations and leering at women, particularly their legs. The behavior became more “frequent, overt and increasingly sexual,” when Logalbo became a supervisor, the lawsuits contend.
In the lawsuits, one of the women describes Logalbo during a work event at a restaurant whispering in her ear “If there wasn’t anyone here right now, I would grab your ass.”
A second woman alleges that Logalbo took a photo of her while she was bent over plugging in a power cord and told her “This is one for the spank bank, I’ll use it later.”
The third alleges that following a conversation about a case involving the sexually motivated harassment of a child Logalbo told her “talking about all this sex stuff makes me horny.”
The lawsuits say the women were hesitant to report the behavior because Logalbo often invoked his “best friend” status with Spitzer. The two are former roommates, and Logalbo was the best man at the DA’s wedding decades ago.
The allegations surfaced soon after Logalbo was promoted to senior assistant district attorney. He has since resigned from the office.
Attorney Pete Hardin, who is running against Spitzer in the 2022 election, has repeatedly cited the Logalbo controversy during his campaign, accusing Spitzer of enabling a culture of sexual harassment.
“He holds himself out as a champion for victims when the cameras are rolling, but behind closed doors he protected a pervert and retaliated against multiple female victims in his own office,” Hardin said. “This is not a man that is committed to safety, service, or justice, he’s just committed to shameless self-promotion.”
Spitzer responded, “The irony of Pete Hardin – who is a walking sexual harassment lawsuit himself – even commenting on this matter is flabbergasting.”
Spitzer has accused Harding of sexual impropriety in the Marines and at the district attorney’s office. The Orange County Register has confirmed that Hardin was given an honorable discharge from the Marines with the reason for separation listed as “unacceptable conduct” involving an out-of-marriage relationship.
“Beyond the threat Hardin poses to women in his immediate orbit, he is also a woke (Los Angeles County DA George) Gascón clone who wants to turn Orange County into another Los Angeles,” Spitzer said.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors last year rejected a proposed settlement for the allegations regarding Logalbo. Instead, the supervisors voted to hire an outside law firm to defend the county against the sexual and racial harassment claims.