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Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti speaking at Moving America Forward Forum, at UNLV. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

LA Mayor’s Bodyguard Sues City For Sexual Harassment

Lawsuit contends Mayor Garcetti witnessed sexual harassment, did nothing to stop it

By Evan Gahr, July 16, 2020 10:42 am

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is being accused of countenancing one of his aides sexually harassing his longtime bodyguard.

LAPD officer Matthew Garza claims in his new lawsuit that he was repeatedly sexually harassed by mayoral adviser Rick Jacobs, sometimes in front of Garcetti, who did nothing to stop the predatory behavior.

The lawsuit claims that from 2014 to 2019 Jacobs touched Garza inappropriately and repeatedly made  crude comments to him.

The harassment allegedly occurred during trips that Garcetti took to Arizona, New Hampshire and other locales. It charges that he was subjected to gender discrimination and a hostile work environment in violation of the California Fair Housing and Employment Act.

Garza, who was a bodyguard for Garcetti for seven years, claims in his Los Angeles Superior Court complaint that when Jacobs went to shake his hand and he reciprocated, the political adviser “would  use the handshake to pull (Garza) towards him and give (Garza) a long, tight hug, while simultaneously stating to (Garza) words to the effect of `You’re so strong and handsome,’ `Your muscles are so tight,’ `I love me my strong LAPD officers’ or some other inappropriate comment.”

In addition to all that it says that Jacobs  kept telling Garza about having “rough sex” with  his gay lovers and specifically mentioned one guy’s penis.

It contends that “Garcetti was present on approximately half of the occasions when Jacobs behaved in this way, and witnessed Jacobs’ conduct, but he took no action to correct Jacobs’ obviously harassing behavior.”

And that Garcetti would “sometimes  laugh at Jacobs’ crude comments.”

The complaint cites an alleged incident during a trip to New Hampshire when Garza was driving and Garcetti was seated next to Jacobs in the backseat and did nothing when Jacobs inappropriately touched him. Jacobs would allegedly massage Garza’s shoulders from the backseat.

On another occasion Jacobs allegedly told Garza to sit on his lap.  He also asked him if he used extra large Magnum condoms.

Garcetti and Jacobs are not defendants in the lawsuit, which is filed against the City of Los Angeles.

Garza claims that as a result of the sexual harassment he eventually left the mayor’s security detail and was forced to take a lower paying position with the LAPD. This is important because to succeed sexual harassment lawsuit plaintiffs need to show that they suffered adverse consequences because of the hostile work environment they allege.

Jacobs was a fundraiser for Garcetti for his 2013 mayoral campaign and later worked for his administration.

Jacobs could not be reached for comment.

But he told the Los Angeles Times that the lawsuit is fictitious. “This lawsuit is a work of pure fiction, and is out of left field. Officer Garza and I worked together for many years without incident. I will vigorously defend myself, my character and my reputation.”

Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar insisted that “the mayor has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges.”

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