Woman accuses Sheriff’s sergeant of sexual harassment

A Colusa County Sheriff’s Office employee filed a lawsuit against the County of Colusa on Friday that alleges she was sexually harassed, sexually intimidated, and unlawfully touched by a supervising sergeant.
Nicole LaGrone, who worked as a records clerk at the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade, claims Sgt. Tony Garofalo “habitually, while working with other Sheriff’s staff, sexually intimidated, harassed and touched (her) in a sexually suggestive manner, without her consent,” the lawsuit states.
Tony Garofalo is Colusa County Sheriff Joe Garofalo’s brother, and has been with the department since 1992, serving first as a deputy and correctional officer.
According to the lawsuit, LaGrone claims she reported inappropriate conduct to her supervisors “from time to time,” until a single culminating event of non-consentual touching occurred in the workplace.
LaGrone has been on workers compensation since Aug. 20, 2016, when she was “medically removed from the workplace within two weeks of the injury.”
The lawsuit, which names not only the County of Colusa, but Garofalo and the Sheriff’s Office, alleges LaGrone was fearful of repercussions, was not supported by her supervising staff when she complained of Garofalo’s behavior, and that she developed “emotional and physical symptoms” from the unlawful and inappropriate conduct of all those named in the lawsuit.
The suit alleges that Garafalo’s behavior was neither stopped nor admonished, and that the co-defendants knew prior to Aug. 19, 2016, of Tony Garofalo’s propensity to conduct himself in “such an inappropriate and harmful manner,” the claim states.
LaGrone is seeking compensatory, general and special damages, cost of the lawsuit, and punitive damages.
According to LaGrone’s attorney, Georgia Stearns of Williams, “the conduct of Tony Garofalos…was so wanton, willful, and despicable in nature and character, so as to justify and award of punitive damages.”
Colusa County Counsel Marcos Kropf said Monday he has read the complaint and outside counsel will be retained to defend Sgt. Tony Garofalo, the Sheriff’s Office, and the County of Colusa.
Kropf would not comment further on Garafolo’s work status. ■