A staffer who worked for Mayor Eric Garcetti testified that Garcetti’s former senior aide engaged in inappropriate behavior, including toward a former officer now suing the city, and that it was “common knowledge” in the mayor’s office, it was reported Friday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Henry Casas, who worked for Garcetti between 2013 and 2018, testified that he was repeatedly hugged and given unwanted shoulder massages by Rick Jacobs, Garcetti’s former senior aide who has been accused of the same behavior in a lawsuit.
The testimony was given in a December deposition for the attorneys of Los Angeles Police Officer Matthew Garza, who filed the lawsuit on July 13 alleging sex and gender harassment.
According to Garza, from October 2013 until October 2019, he was assigned to the LAPD’s police protection unit for the mayor. He says he was required to drive Garcetti to and from mayoral engagements and accompany him on out-of-town trips and that former mayoral adviser Rick Jacobs often accompanied them.
Garza alleges Jacobs subjected him on “hundreds of occasions to unwanted and unwelcome sexual comments and touching,” including tight hugs and shoulder rubbing.
Casas’ deposition, which The Times obtained a transcript of, claimed that he was subjected to similar behavior and witnessed the behavior toward Garza.
“I definitely got hugged. You know, pretty much, you know, my biceps would get grabbed, right, squeezed. Every now and then, you know, I might be sitting down, he’d be behind me and do a — like a quick massage,” Casas said in the deposition transcript, according to The Times.
Garza’s attorney asked Casas if he did anything to invite the behavior, and Casas said “definitely not.”
He also testified that the behavior was “common knowledge” in the mayor’s office, The Times reported, but he did not say that Garcetti was present during Jacobs’ inappropriate behavior.
Garcetti said in a statement to The Times that he never witnessed any sexual harassment by Jacobs and was not told about the allegations before the lawsuit was filed.
“Had I been aware of any allegation, I would have taken action to address it,” Garcetti said, according to The Times. “In my life, I have taken and always will take all forms of harassment extremely seriously.”
Casas is the first of Garcetti’s aides to allege inappropriate behavior by Jacobs, according to The Times, which said it could help Garza’s case against the city.
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