Los Angeles Councilman Sued By Staffer For Sexual Harassment, Admits He Had Affair

The former deputy chief of staff for a Los Angeles city councilman is suing him for what she alleges was his constant harassment after she rejected his advances.

Francine Godoy claims that Councilman Jose Huizar retaliated against her by trying to sabotage her pursuit of a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District board. Godoy, who is 34, said that Huizar had supported – and even encouraged – her pursuit of the board seat, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But then Huizar, whose support she cast as critical to her getting the position, increasingly pressured her to engage in sexual activities with him as a condition of continuing his help in securing the seat, and also to keeping her job.

"On or about October, 8, 2012, after [Godoy] arrived at Huizar's office at City Hall, Huizar told [her] that if she wanted his continued support in her campaign ... she would have to have sex with him." Godoy said in her lawsuit, according to the Times.

Huizar’s spokesman has said Godoy’s allegations were false. Shortly after Godoy filed her lawsuit, Huizar released a statement saying that he and his former employee had a "consensual relationship” that he "deeply regrets."

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“Francine Godoy’s behavior towards him both before and after these fabricated events will prove that they are not credible," Huizar spokesman Robert Alaniz said, according to the Times. "The lawsuit fails to mention that Ms. Godoy and the council member had an occasional and consensual relationship, which the council member deeply regrets. He has apologized to his wife and family, and he and his wife are currently working on repairing their marriage."

Godoy worked as Huizar’s deputy chief of staff until April.

Godoy said that after she refused his sexual advances, Huizar told her he planned to "cancel" an endorsement meeting scheduled for the next day.

Huizar, who is 45 and married, hired Godoy in 2006. Her starting salary was $47,000 and eventually rose to more than $100,000.

Godoy’s lawsuit contends that after she rejected his advances, Huizar increasingly marginalized her. She claims that he scaled down her duties and told her to work from home.

"When the true facts come out, it will reveal that Ms. Godoy is someone seeking to damage the council member’s reputation because he would not help advance her career as she expected," Huizar said in the statement, according to the Times.