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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Correctional officer sues Delano over alleged sexual harassment


    A correctional officer is suing the city of Delano over acts of alleged sexual harassment that she states culminated in a sexual assault in April of last year.

    The complaint filed Tuesday by attorney Thomas A. Brill on behalf of Crystal Barbey alleges correctional officer Hugo Arredondo began making unwanted sexual advances toward her soon after she began working at Delano Community Correctional Facility in September 2008. Arredondo leered at Barbey, commented about her breasts and made growling or guttural sounds when he was around her, the complaint says.

    The city, Arredondo and the correctional facility are listed as defendants in the complaint.

    City of Delano attorney Alan Peake said that, as of late Tuesday afternoon, he had not received the complaint so he couldn’t comment on any specifics. But he did say Arredondo no longer works for the city. He declined to specify whether Arredondo was fired or resigned.

    As for the lawsuit, “”The city takes sexual harassment allegations seriously and we’ll respond accordingly,”” Peake said.

    The complaint says Arredondo, knowing Barbey was married, told her he could be her “”Sancho,”” a slang term in Spanish for lover. Arredondo told Barbey her husband was probably unfaithful, and she should “”try it”” with him, the lawsuit says.

    Barbey complained about the harassment, but her supervisors just told her to watch out for Arredondo and didn’t take any action to stop his sexual advances, the complaint alleges.

    During a press conference held at The Law Offices of Young & Nichols, Barbey said Arredondo sexually assaulted her in a control tower on April 25, 2010.

    “”He tried to force himself on me,”” Barbey said. “”(He) ripped articles of clothing off me.””

    Barbey reported the attack, but was told she would still have to work with Arredondo, the complaint says. She went on a leave of absence a few days later and remains on leave.

    Correctional facility officials referred calls for comment to the city. Arredondo could not be reached for comment.

    Brill, who stood by Barbey’s side during the press conference, said there was a “”boys will be boys”” atmosphere at the correctional facility and supervisors did nothing to prevent sexual harassment. He said there was no specific dollar amount yet on the damages they’re seeking.

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