A group of female Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are speaking out against a lawsuit that claims a group of male deputies sexually harassed female trainees and demanded sexual favors as part of initiation.
The lawsuit by Guadalupe Lopez, who was assigned to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station in Boyle Heights starting in 2011, accuses a group of tattooed male deputies who called themselves the "Banditos" of sexual harassment, hazing and retaliation, according to a report by NBC News.
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Female deputies assigned to the East Los Angeles Station on Saturday told NBC4 they felt insulted by the allegations of sexual misconduct.
"Our reputation as female professionals, wives, mothers, sisters is unjustly questioned as a result of her claims," said Yolanda Villanueva, the mother of a female deputy who read a statement on behalf of the group.
"There’s no sex club. That’s just ridiculous,” said one female deputy who spoke with NBC4 on the condition of anonymity.
Lopez alleges she was shown photos of other female deputies performing sexual favors for male deputies.
“Plaintiff was made to understand that she was expected to be ‘One of the Girls,’ which included drinking, partying, and the fulfillment of the ‘sexual needs’ of her male training officers and their associates,” the complaint alleges, according to NBC News.
In response to the the female deputies' statement, an attorney representing Lopez said in a press release that the claims in the lawsuit are “accurate, and Deputy Lopez stands by the assertions she made in the lawsuit.”
"Ms. Lopez never stated that the majority of female deputies assigned to East Los Angeles Station were involved in any sexual activities with their male counterparts," the press release said.
Lopez is seeking unspecified damages.