Carson Mayor Al Robles accused of sexual harassment by former mayor’s girlfriend. The girlfriend of former Carson Mayor Jim Dear has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually harassed and repeatedly groped by Mayor Al Robles while she worked as an assistant to City Council members over a two-year period.
Monette Gavino, who was terminated in July from her position as a City Council field deputy, is seeking an unspecified payout from the city for emotional distress and allowing a hostile work environment, according to the suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Gavino claims in the suit that she was helping Robles with his 2013 City Council campaign when the harassment began. Robles, she said, asked her to be his “secret girlfriend” and forcefully kissed and groped her against her will. She pushed him away, the suit alleges, while he commented: “Hey Monette, I’d love to see you in your thong.”
Months later, in September 2014, Gavino alleges in the suit, Robles put his hand on her knee and said, “I really love to touch your legs.” She said she avoided him but he continued to make unwelcome sexual advances and leer at her for about nine more months, until she lost her job.
Gavino, 45, “suffered physical injury and/or sickness, loss of earnings and earnings capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, shame, shock, discomfort, anxiety,” the lawsuit states.
Robles said Gavino’s claims are untrue, and are essentially a political attack from Dear.
“I categorically deny all allegations in the complaint,” Robles said. “Everybody knows Monette is Jim Dear’s girlfriend. This is nothing more than a politically motivated move by a former disgruntled and recalled Mayor Jim Dear, who has announced his intentions to run against me in November for the mayor’s position.”
This is the second sexual harassment suit brought against Robles since he was appointed to the mayor’s seat last year. In May, Lynn Dymally — a former colleague of Robles on the Water Replenishment District of Southern California — accused him of aggressively groping her while the two attended a water conference. That suit was dismissed in November with prejudice, barring Dymally from filing another related suit against Robles. At the time, Robles said the complaint was a political attack.
Carson’s leadership has gone through a period of chaotic upheaval in recent years, as a Dear-led City Council majority hired and fired a series of city managers. Last March, Dear relinquished the mayor’s seat he held for 11 years to successfully run for city clerk, a full-time position that pays more than four times the part-time mayor’s salary and also provided much greater retirement benefits.