A former Los Angeles Police Department Detective of the Year winner sued the city Monday, alleging she was sexually harassed by a male colleague and that the LAPD was aware of his similar history with other female employees.
Patricia Hauck, a detective assigned to the Central Division since 2001, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging she was forced to work in a hostile work environment. She’s seeking unspecified damages.
An LAPD spokesman declined comment on the suit.
According to the complaint, Detective William Sera was transferred to Hauck’s division in 2011 after a complaint was filed against him at his previous post. The suit alleges he harassed her in 2012-13 with unwanted touching, comments and “other sexual advances.”
Sera called himself “Teflon” because he believed his connections to the LAPD command staff insulated him from discipline, the suit alleges.
“Detective Sera bragged to plaintiff that he had Chief Charlie Beck on speed dial and even had Chief Beck’s home phone number,” the suit says.
Sera approached Hauck while she was alone at her desk and invited her to engage in “small talk” with him; looked “up and down” at her in a sexual manner, causing her “extreme discomfort and disgust”; and regularly complimented her on her perfume scent, according to the lawsuit.
While both were waiting for a meeting to begin in 2013, Sera touched one of Hauck’s thighs and made a suggestive remark, the suit alleges. Hauck says she was “humiliated to the point of tears” and “left the room, pretending that she needed to get something before the meeting.”
Before Sera came to the Central Division, complaints and/or lawsuits were previously filed against him by other female LAPD employees, according to the lawsuit.
Hauck was named LAPD Detective of the Year in February 2003, her court papers say.