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Former Lake County Dispatchers Settle Sexual-Harassment Case

Three former Lake County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers who say they were sexually harassed in the workplace are set to receive an $875,000 settlement from Lake County government. The settlement closes the door on the 2017 sexual-harassment scandal that rocked the small mountain community of Leadville to its core.

Former dispatchers Nicole Garner, Chelsa Parsons and Maria Chavez claim that former Lake County Undersheriff Fernando Mendoza and Sheriff Rod Fenske routinely exposed them to sexual comments, jokes, texts and touching.

For example, according to Garner, in 2017 Mendoza showed the dispatcher a picture of her lacerated breast, which was on file from a recent domestic-violence incident. “I got to see your boobs today,” he told her after laughing. Chavez alleges that Fenske would call her “sweetie” and “little girl” while Parsons recalls Mendoza smelling her hair and tickling her torso.

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