A woman who did communications consultation work for Inglewood dropped the lawsuit she filed two weeks earlier against the city and Mayor James T. Butts, alleging the mayor sexually harassed her and even pondered hypnotizing her so she would submit to his “prurient” demands before she was fired in late 2020.
The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 8 and alleged sexual harassment, failure to investigate and prevent sexual harassment and retaliation.
One of Doe’s attorneys, Maryann P. Gallagher, filed a request for dismissal dated Friday “without prejudice,” meaning the case can be brought again later.
The action comes after Mira Hashmall, a lawyer for the city and Butts, wrote two letters to Gallagher and Doe’s other lawyers, copies of which were obtained by City News Service. Hashmall requested that the suit be dropped and said Butts and the city “reserve the right to file an action for malicious prosecution against you, your law firms, and your client.”
According to Hashmall, the suit is “rife with factual allegations that are readily disprovable. You made allegations of sexual assault against Mayor Butts without any factual basis. You also asserted claims without any legal basis.”
Doe was never an employee of the city because she applied for a part-time position and a routine background check showed she had a burglary conviction, according to Hashmall. Doe was invited to submit an explanation explaining the conviction, but she never followed through and let her application drop.
According to the suit, Butts “used his superior power and influence as mayor to intimidate female employees of the city to have unwanted sexual relations with him.”
“The city knew or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known about Butts’ history of sexual harassment, yet the city failed to investigate allegations of misconduct against Butts or of his penchant for abusing his position of power,” the suit alleges.
After she was hired in March 2020, Doe “became a victim of Butts’ sexual assault, sexual harassment and abuse of power by his (forcing) her to engage in unwanted sexual activity,” according to the suit.
“He promised her additional job opportunities if she allowed him to attempt to hypnotize her to take advantage of her for his own prurient interests,” according to the suit.
Doe received no help from City Hall management, and the “corrosive” work environment continued until the city fired her last December, the suit stated.