Chino police officer alleges colleague sexually harassed and stalked her in lawsuit

CHINO – The city has paid $25,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a female police officer who alleged she was sexually harassed, stalked and repeatedly threatened by a male supervisor in the Chino Police Department.The case brought by Cpl. Misty Girgle against the city of Chino and Sgt. Valentino Falcon was dismissed in June following the settlement.

The city also has agreed to pay Girgle about one year’s worth of back pay as part of the agreement, said Chino spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden.

According to Girgle’s complaint, she was subject to years of sexual harassment and stalking from Falcon.

Girgle and Falcon had one sexual encounter in 2004, and afterward Falcon continued to pursue Girgle, telling her he had a video of their encounter and would post it on the Internet if she rejected him, according to the complaint, which was filed in September.

Girgle and Falcon no longer work for the Police Department, Van Der Linden said. They both left the department last year.

Van Der Linden did not elaborate on the specifics of Girgle and Falcon’s departure, saying that the subject involves “personnel issues” that she’s barred from discussing.

Girgle declined to comment on the case Wednesday when reached at her home in Rancho Cucamonga. She referred calls to her attorney.

Attorneys for Girgle and Falcon did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Falcon was hired by the Chino Police Department in 1989, and in 2001 was named Police Officer of the Year, according to a statement read into the Congressional Record in June 2001 by Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea.

Girgle was hired by the department in 1999, according to her complaint.

The harassment from Falcon began in 2001 and lasted until late 2007, Girgle alleged in her complaint. Falcon was ranked higher than Girgle the entire time.

In late 2004, Falcon would approach Girgle’s workstation “and talk to her about dating, getting together, going out for dinner/drinks, and to `rendezvous,”‘ according to the complaint.

Falcon routinely discussed sexual matters, and would touch Girgle’s shoulders and pat her on the butt, the complaint alleged.

“Sometime in approximately mid-2004, (Girgle) succumbed to Falcon’s persistence during a time when (Girgle) experienced a brief and tragic family situation, known to Falcon, and agreed to meet Falcon for self-consolation. As a result, (Girgle) and Falcon had a one-time consensual sexual event,” the complaint states.

After the encounter, Falcon continued to request dates and sexual encounters with Girgle.

Girgle always turned him down, telling Falcon “that the single event described above was a mistake and would never occur again. Yet Falcon persisted in his unwelcome sexual advances,” according to the complaint.

After numerous rejections by Girgle, Falcon told her he had a video of their sexual encounter, according to the complaint.

From late 2005 to early 2007, Falcon seemed to be stalking Girgle, the complaint alleges. “Falcon was seen near (Girgle’s) house, near her children’s schools, and at (Girgle’s) gym, even though Falcon did not live in the area,” the complaint states.

In September 2006, another officer at the department who observed Falcon’s behavior toward Girgle lodged a complaint with the department, triggering an inquiry, according to the complaint.

When Falcon learned of the inquiry, he told Girgle to “make this (inquiry) go away” or he would expose the sex tape, the complaint states.

Fearing exposure of the tape, Girgle did not detail Falcon’s conduct when she was interviewed as part of the inquiry.

From October 2006 to March 2007, Girgle was off work on medical leave. When she returned, she was placed under Falcon’s supervision and subject to further harassment and retaliation from him, the complaint alleges.

In July 2007, Falcon followed Girgle to Reno, Nev., apparently stalking her. When Girgle returned to Southern California following her trip, she lodged a complaint against Falcon with the city.

During a city investigation that followed, Falcon was placed on paid administrative leave while Girgle remained on unpaid leave, the complaint alleges.

will.bigham@inlandnewspapers.com
(909) 483-8553

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