Female C.O. files sexual harassment suit against city of Delano

DELANO – A correctional officer is suing the city of Delano over alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault by a colleague.

Crystal Barbey, who works for the Delano Community Correctional Facility, claims in a complaint filed on Tuesday by her attorney that fellow correctional officer Hugo Arredondo began making unwanted sexual advances toward her in September 2008. The complaint says that Arredondo leered at Barbey and made comments about her breasts.

The lawsuit also alleges that Arredondo told Barbey that her husband was most likely unfaithful, and that she should “try it” with him.

Barbey said that she told her supervisors about the sexual harassment, but they didn’t take any action to stop his behavior.

According to Barbey, the harassment culminated in a sexual assault in April of last year when Arredondo tried to force himself on Barbey in a control tower at the correctional facility.

“He ripped articles of clothing off of me,” she said when talking about the lawsuit on Wednesday.

Although Barbey reported the attack to her superiors, she was told she would still have to work with Arredondo, according to the lawsuit. She decided to take a leave of absence a few days later and has not returned to work since.

According to Barbey, Arredondo resigned from his position, and the police department has not done anything to bring charges against him. Barbey decided her only course of action was to sue the city, the correctional facility and Arredondo.

“The final straw to get an attorney and get a lawsuit is because nothing has been done to stop him or punish him,” Barbey said.

She added that she isn’t the only one Arredondo has harassed.

“I’m not the only victim, there are other victims,” she said. “There are other people he has done this to and nobody is stopping him and I don’t want this to happen to anybody else or anything like this to happen to anybody else.”

The city of Delano has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. City officials and Arredondo could not immediately be reached for comment.

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