One year after a Los Angeles police officer was charged with six misdemeanor counts for allegedly sending sexually explicit photos and videos of his wife to LAPD colleagues and other men, the woman, also a police officer, is suing the city of Los Angeles.
The woman’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, charges the department with sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation and failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for the city attorney’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The plaintiff’s husband, Brady Lamas, is awaiting trial on six counts of disorderly conduct by distributing a private intimate image, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last December.
The complaint alleges that Lamas, 46, passed “around sexually explicit photographs and sexually explicit videos” of his wife to other LAPD officers.
“My own husband is a predator, and he preyed on me. I would have preferred that he punched me in the face,” she wrote when applying for a restraining order against Lamas.
His actions, she claims, led to her being sexually harassed by other officers in the department, behavior that she alleges has continued over the last year.
Two officers, whom she claims made harassing comments, were not transferred, and according to the suit, the LAPD did nothing to ensure that the images would no longer be shared by any of the officers who had obtained them.
“The department simply did not care enough to do all that was necessary to protect plaintiff,” the suit states, thereby encouraging a hostile work environment and damaging the plaintiff’s career.
Identified in the original charging document by her first name and last initial, she has worked for the LAPD for 14 years and in the course of her career has received numerous commendations and awards.
She originally came upon the explicit images in January 2021 when she saw a group chat on her husband’s phone in which Lamas shared nude photos and videos with a man she didn’t know.
The discovery, she wrote, helped explain the sexually harassing comments that had been directed toward her, which she did not understand. At the time, the comments seemed “unusual,” but she did not know about the images Lamas had sent by text message, WhatsApp and the messaging app Kik.
Upon discovering the images on Lamas’ phone, she felt “frozen and in fear,” she wrote in the filing. The images had left her humiliated. Lamas was a “predator” whose actions were “tantamount to a sexual assault.”
She alleged he had surreptitiously taken photos of her naked body during several visits at a doctor’s office after she had breast augmentation surgery. She claimed he then shared the images with other men, referring to them as “before and after pics,” according to the filing.
Some of the male LAPD employees who had received the explicit images would approach her at work, staring at her “intently” and making comments such as “Brady is a lucky man” and “He doesn’t know how good he has it,” according to the filing.
She reported Lamas to her supervisor, filed a report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station in Santa Clarita and was interviewed by the Internal Affairs Division.
At the time, the LAPD issued a statement saying it was cooperating with the Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office and was “troubled by the officer’s alleged off-duty conduct which does not reflect the values of the Los Angeles Police Department.”
Yet she said she was afraid to return to work and predicted that the harassment would continue.
“What is worse is this humiliation will keep repeating, perhaps forever, because the private pictures and graphic videos are now in the hands of strangers and multiple co-workers at the LAPD,” she wrote.
The case is the latest in a series of explicit-photo-sharing scandals to rock the department in recent years.
The city paid out $1.5 million in 2020 to settle a lawsuit by an LAPD detective who accused a fellow officer of beating her and threatening to share sexually explicit images he had secretly taken if she tried to end their relationship.
And in September, a jury awarded an LAPD captain $4 million in damages after she sued the city over a nude photograph that was doctored to look like her and shared around the department.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.