Three male police officers from California have come forward to accuse the state’s first female sheriff of past acts of sexual harassment and retribution.
According to a report from ABC 7 News’ I-Team, two of the male accusers, who have revealed their identities, say they are not seeking any monetary compensation but merely want to have their stories heard and for the sheriff to be held accountable. The third accuser, a 30-year veteran officer, has remained anonymous out of fear of retribution against his children.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, who was praised for breaking barriers for women as California’s first female sheriff, claims the accusations against her are fabricated. “It’s all false, absolutely false,” she told the news team.
Retired Sgt. Gary Brady says Smith sexually harassed him some 20 years ago and later retaliated against him when he spurned her advances. When Brady came forward to file a gender discrimination grievance with the county’s Equal Opportunity Department at the time of the alleged harassment, he says he was denied.
Both married at the time, Smith “undressed and she got on top of me and she wanted me to do some things that I’m embarrassed to talk about now,” recalls Brady of an alleged encounter in 1991. The officer says he cut the incident short and told her, “It’s time to go.”
Brady further claims that Smith removed him from a narcotics team because he rejected her. “It’s about time the females in this department get the good jobs,” she allegedly told the officer.
Though many years have passed, Brady says he wants Smith held accountable because what she did was wrong.
Former corrections officer Ed Albanoski similarly claims sexual harassment and retribution by Smith.
In the late 1980s, Smith allegedly exposed herself to Albanoski at Elmwood Women’s Jail. He also claims he was later retaliated against by Smith for rebuffing her invitations to get drinks.
“She had her uniform shirt unbuttoned down to like the third button, not wearing a T-shirt, not wearing a bra, and kind of exposing herself to me,” Albanoski recalled.
After being off for two years due to an on-the-job injury, Smith turned down Albanoski when he requested his job back. “I was basically pleading with her to get my job back. She goes, ‘Well, you should have been nicer to me at Elmwood,'” he claims. “She actually said that. My response was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”
The unidentified 30-year veteran, a corrections officer, claims the sheriff sexually harassed him “on multiple occasions.” Josh Boxer, an attorney representing the officer, told ABC News 7 his client “had experienced sexual harassment from Sheriff Smith and remained silent or largely silent, I should say, over the years fearing retaliation.”
Smith allegedly sexually propositioned the officer on numerous occasions, including during the 1994 World Cup. The sheriff was apparently touching herself in a manner that made the officer feel uncomfortable and suggestively touched a police baton.
“These false narratives are nothing more than an orchestrated attack on the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office and my personal reputation,” said Smith via a spokesperson.