News

Judge cites lack of evidence in case against police chief

Former police dispatcher waited too long to file sexual harassment claim, preliminary ruling says

A Santa Clara County judge sided with the city of Mountain View and Police Chief Max Bosel in a tentative ruling Thursday, stating that a former dispatcher's allegations of sexual harassment happened too long ago and complaints of retaliation lacked evidence.

A final ruling on the case has yet to be issued.

The tentative ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan grants the city's request to dismiss several complaints filed by former Mountain View Police Department employee Annie Lohman. She alleged that Bosel and other department personnel engaged in sexual harassment -- repeatedly subjecting her to sexually explicit banter, lewd jokes, nudity and simulated sexual acts -- and later engaged in gender discrimination, disability discrimination and retaliation.

Lohman's suit alleges that Bosel had openly flirted with her until about 2012 and 2013, when he found out that Lohman was in a relationship with another member of the department's SWAT team, at which point he acted "jilted" and took action to demote her.

In February 2015, Lohman was placed on paid administrative leave and received a notice from Bosel of intended discipline and a recommended demotion. She returned to her job after more than a year in a demoted role as a Public Safety Dispatcher II. Prior court documents show the city's attorneys argue the demotion was a result of poor performance.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

The judge's ruling states that claims of explicit banter, jokes and nudity by members of the SWAT team date back to 2006 and 2007, which far exceeds California's statute of limitations. The allegations of sexual harassment would have had to occur after Oct. 23, 2014, according to the court document.

The suit argues that Lohman's refusal to "submit to defendant Bosel's inappropriate and unwelcome sexual behavior" continued beyond that cut-off date, but evidence is thin that such a "quid pro quo theory" of sexual harassment took place.

"There is no evidence, however, that defendant Bosel made, expressly or implicitly, submission to his sexual conduct a condition of plaintiff’s continued employment or continued receipt of concrete employment benefits," the tentative ruling states.

Kirwan also tentatively agreed to dismiss charges that the city had violated the California Fair Pay Act by giving Lohman lower pay for the same job held by a man in the department named Andre Harrison. Attorneys representing the city say the pay differential had to do with experience and the fact that Harrison had stepped down from a prior role supervising all public safety dispatchers, and that he was allowed to retain his previous pay as a communications operations supervisor. He was disqualified from receiving pay raises until other lead dispatchers caught up with salary, which happened in 2013.

In a statement, Bosel said he was "confident" that his name would be cleared once the facts came out, and that it's a relief to see a case that started in March 2016 is finally winding down.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

"The court's tentative ruling is a welcome sign that this exceedingly long and stressful situation appears to be coming to an end," Bosel said. "I appreciate the support of my family, friends, colleagues in the police department and the city, and look forward to the final ruling coming out soon."

Lawyers representing Lohman did not immediately respond to the Voice's request for comment.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Judge cites lack of evidence in case against police chief

Former police dispatcher waited too long to file sexual harassment claim, preliminary ruling says

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 5, 2018, 12:24 pm

A Santa Clara County judge sided with the city of Mountain View and Police Chief Max Bosel in a tentative ruling Thursday, stating that a former dispatcher's allegations of sexual harassment happened too long ago and complaints of retaliation lacked evidence.

A final ruling on the case has yet to be issued.

The tentative ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan grants the city's request to dismiss several complaints filed by former Mountain View Police Department employee Annie Lohman. She alleged that Bosel and other department personnel engaged in sexual harassment -- repeatedly subjecting her to sexually explicit banter, lewd jokes, nudity and simulated sexual acts -- and later engaged in gender discrimination, disability discrimination and retaliation.

Lohman's suit alleges that Bosel had openly flirted with her until about 2012 and 2013, when he found out that Lohman was in a relationship with another member of the department's SWAT team, at which point he acted "jilted" and took action to demote her.

In February 2015, Lohman was placed on paid administrative leave and received a notice from Bosel of intended discipline and a recommended demotion. She returned to her job after more than a year in a demoted role as a Public Safety Dispatcher II. Prior court documents show the city's attorneys argue the demotion was a result of poor performance.

The judge's ruling states that claims of explicit banter, jokes and nudity by members of the SWAT team date back to 2006 and 2007, which far exceeds California's statute of limitations. The allegations of sexual harassment would have had to occur after Oct. 23, 2014, according to the court document.

The suit argues that Lohman's refusal to "submit to defendant Bosel's inappropriate and unwelcome sexual behavior" continued beyond that cut-off date, but evidence is thin that such a "quid pro quo theory" of sexual harassment took place.

"There is no evidence, however, that defendant Bosel made, expressly or implicitly, submission to his sexual conduct a condition of plaintiff’s continued employment or continued receipt of concrete employment benefits," the tentative ruling states.

Kirwan also tentatively agreed to dismiss charges that the city had violated the California Fair Pay Act by giving Lohman lower pay for the same job held by a man in the department named Andre Harrison. Attorneys representing the city say the pay differential had to do with experience and the fact that Harrison had stepped down from a prior role supervising all public safety dispatchers, and that he was allowed to retain his previous pay as a communications operations supervisor. He was disqualified from receiving pay raises until other lead dispatchers caught up with salary, which happened in 2013.

In a statement, Bosel said he was "confident" that his name would be cleared once the facts came out, and that it's a relief to see a case that started in March 2016 is finally winding down.

"The court's tentative ruling is a welcome sign that this exceedingly long and stressful situation appears to be coming to an end," Bosel said. "I appreciate the support of my family, friends, colleagues in the police department and the city, and look forward to the final ruling coming out soon."

Lawyers representing Lohman did not immediately respond to the Voice's request for comment.

Comments

whatever
Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm
whatever, Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm
10 people like this

"Oh, you can't prove it so I never did it!"

I say, there is no smoke without fire.

Just because some time has passed means that a man cannot be found guilty of a crime. This appears to be Kavanaugh all over again.

Don't we want something better for ourselves and our children than settling for someone who managed to get away with atrocious behavior?

And we whine about the priests and the politicians when it is us that allows them to continue their actions.


Oh come on
Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 7:24 pm
Oh come on, Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 7:24 pm
34 people like this

Yes, it's like Kavanaugh all over again: One person's accusation, no legally meaningful substantiating evidence.

Why has "accusation equals guilt" suddenly become fashionable? I understand the political opportunism factor working in the Kavanaugh case, but where was the comparable cynical motivation with this local case??

Haven't you people learned anything, at all, from the Duke lacrosse-team debacle, or the U. of Virginia hoax? Plenty of people were sure those accusations were true, too. It's easy to do that, provided that the measure of truth is your own armchair opinion.


Assumptions
Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 9:26 pm
Assumptions, Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2018 at 9:26 pm
Like this comment

Assumptions - It is easy to make an assumption especially when you only hear or know just part of an incident. I don't think you can even compare this local story to the national debate. Even so this is such a slow news day kinda of story and not really that important except to the people that work together or know these people. As for me, don't know them. Don't care.


Innocent until proven guilty
Bailey Park
on Oct 6, 2018 at 6:13 am
Innocent until proven guilty, Bailey Park
on Oct 6, 2018 at 6:13 am
18 people like this

Of course, this is similar to the Kavanaugh case. Anyone can make an allegation but they need evidence to convince rational people.


Cafe Hunk
Shoreline West
on Oct 7, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Cafe Hunk, Shoreline West
on Oct 7, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Like this comment

To those comparing this with Kavanaugh, it would have been entirely appropriate to consider these accusations in 2014 when he was being considered for Police Chief, if they had been raised then.

Web Link


Howard
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm
Howard, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm
5 people like this

Why don't we just make all men guilty of rape and sexual misconduct based on just accusations?
That would make it so it's easy to ascertain the truth and then the "meetoo women" could just move on with their agenda against men.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.