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Lake County Sheriff’s Office to pay $875K to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will pay three women $875,000 to settle a lawsuit in which the women claimed they faced sexual harassment on the job as dispatchers.

The settlement brings an end to a years-long saga that helped put former Undersheriff Fernando Mendoza in jail, ousted former Sheriff Rodney Fenske and brought in new Sheriff Amy Reyes amid a significant shakeup at the sheriff’s office and allegations of a coverup.

The dispatchers, Maria Chavez, Chelsa Parsons and Nicole Garner, quit after raising concerns about the way Mendoza and Fenske behaved on the job in late 2017. Chavez has since been rehired.

Their complaints prompted an internal investigation that concluded the men’s actions were inappropriate but did not rise to the level of sexual harassment, prompting the women to make their allegations public in November 2017 and eventually file a lawsuit in 2018.

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