By Amy Berberyan
ANAHEIM, CA – With the filing of three additional lawsuits against Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, his tenure appears to continue to involve scandal—seven lawsuits in total have been filed against the DA.
The women who filed the new lawsuits all worked under Spitzer and all assert that “this is a harassment, discrimination, and retaliation case.”
After victims accused senior prosecutor and longtime friend of Spitzer’s, Gary LoGalbo, as having sexually harassed them, Spitzer promoted him. And LoGalbo was allowed to retire with top benefits, the women said.
Spitzer has also been removed from a case after he tried to have sexual assault charges dropped from high-profile accused. This case involved several victims, two of which abandoned their case after being “grossly mistreated” by Spitzer for two and a half years.
The three new lawsuits stressed that the Orange County Board of Supervisors had turned a blind eye to Spitzer’s actions despite the number of complaints and women suing.
“Quite simply, the Board should have done more and should do more,” said one lawsuit. “It’s apparent they won’t.”
One of the complaints alleged that Spitzer’s history on the Board included “abusive conduct towards women,” and that despite this “the Board has not taken a single corrective or preventive action towards Mr. Spritzer, their former colleague.”
“The Board’s inaction has sent a clear message to Plaintiff, to countless other County employees, and to all citizens of Orange County that harassment, discrimination, and retaliation when engaged in by political well-connected men will be tolerated by the current members of the Board of Supervisors,” continues the complaint.
According to a longtime female employee, Spitzer claimed his prior tenure on the Orange County Board of Supervisors allowed him “access” to current Board members; her complaint drew connections between this and the idea that he had the ability to “influence how they vote and how they govern.”
This same complaint states that Spitzer made “harassing comments” against women while on the Board, and that “one career prosecutor targeted by Mr. Spitzer succinctly described him as having ‘no respect for women.’”
Given the close relationship between Spitzer and alleged abuser, LoGalbo, several women felt as though they had to make a choice between staying quiet and keeping their jobs, or speaking up about LoGalbo’s misconduct and getting fired.
The first lawsuit, filed by a woman who worked under LoGalbo, reported that she was “exposed to sexual and/or racially harassing comments daily” as a result of LoGalbo frequently commenting on the sexual appeal of female attorneys, judges and crime victims.
During COVID-19 when court appearances were remote, the pleading alleges he joked about using the cameras to set up a “Pornhub” website. Furthermore, this first victim stated that he sent her an inappropriate video of an Asian orgy with the title: “China Restocking The Shelves.”
This complaint concluded with the allegation that LoGalbo had come up behind this victim and pulled on her ponytail “up and down like a horse’s reins.”
The second lawsuit came from a different female employee who stated that LoGalbo commented on her underwear and would often “bust in” whenever her office door was closed in the hopes that he would “catch her undressing.” He would also harass her by phone, asking after her location and clothing.
When she attempted to keep her distance because of how uncomfortable he made her, he would state, “I’m not going to just bend you over that chair and take you from behind” or “I’m not going to bite unless you ask me to.”
As a result of this abuse and the close relationship between Spitzer and LoGalbo, this victim claimed to feel “trapped.” She added that a mentor advised her not to complain to the Human Resources Department to avoid “career suicide.”
The third lawsuit came from a longtime female employee of 20 years who claimed that Spitzer promoted LoGalbo to “Acting” Assistant District Attorney and “paid LoGalbo more” that her, despite the two of them doing the same work.
Furthermore, LoGalbo would often comment on her clothing and feet and offer her a seat on his lap. On one occasion, he took a picture of her and claimed it was for the “spank bank.” On another, he offered her bottles of wine named “Barefoot” and “Menage a Trois” and claimed she would like that.
These lawsuits follow a county-funded investigation that concluded that Spitzer–as Orange County’s top law enforcement official–“engaged in two separate incidents of misconduct in violation of the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment ‘abusive conduct’ policy.”
Spitzer was found to be “willfully and deliberately” engaged in this abusive conduct. Witnesses felt “embarrassment, powerlessness, and disgust” while female victims who had been subjected to sexual harassment felt “shocked, violated, humiliated, and devastated” as a result of Spitzer’s behavior.
The investigation found a common theme emerging in the witnesses: that those who worked for Spitzer “live in constant fear of retaliation” from him. This is due, the probe noted, to his tendency to engage in “victim blaming” rather than support those who came forward with allegations against LoGalbo.
Another witness claimed that Spitzer’s actions led to a “revictimization of the victims.” Another stated that he referred to LoGalbo’s victims as “terrible workers.”
The independent investigator concluded that Spitzer has demonstrated hostility and an “abuse or misuse of power.” She added that he “exposed the attorney-witnesses to gawking and humiliation and had the effect of gratuitous sabotage.”
She added that his “beyond inappropriate” actions worked to “[undermine his] attorneys’ work performance” and lead to feelings of “unjustified embarrassment or indignity” within his staff.
At least seven sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuits have been filed against Spitzer in total. He also has been involved in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, and has slandered a victim of Orange County’s deadliest mass shooting.
Former Marine Corps Judge Advocate Pete Hardin, running for Spitzer’s seat, asked, “How many more women need to recount their abuse, harassment, retaliation, and bullying for the people of Orange County to remove Todd Spitzer from office?”
“The District Attorney is supposed to support victims rather than create them,” Hardin added. “Instead of giving them the dignity, respect, and compassion they deserve, Todd Spitzer slammed the door to justice in their faces.”