LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge has entered judgment in favor of the superintendent and a board member of the Baldwin Park Unified School District, dismissing both as defendants in a lawsuit in which the former district police chief alleges she was subjected to disparate treatment after disclosing in 2015 that she is gay.
Plaintiff Jill Poe was terminated in 2021 when the district disbanded its police department. Under the judgment signed Tuesday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Broadbelt, Superintendent Froilan Mendoza and Board Member Deanna Robles are no longer part of the case.
The judgment reflects a ruling the judge issued March 27 in which he also found that Poe can proceed to trial on various allegations against the district, including retaliation, harassment, discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Poe did not reveal she was gay until after she became chief and believes the revelation of her sexual orientation caused her to receive disparate treatment, according to the suit, which claims that a heterosexual employee who was accused of sexual molestation of children continues working for the BPUSD.
Poe, 54, began as a patrol officer with the district in 2006 and was named chief in 2014, according to her court papers. In July 2019, a local blogger was given a citation by a BPUSD officer for running a stop sign, the suit states. The blogger wrote Mendoza asking that the citation be dismissed or he would disclose Poe's alleged criminal history while a member of the LAPD, according to the suit. Poe was an LAPD member from 1990 until 2000, when she was fired for the ``stated reason'' that she had been accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, Poe's attorneys state in their court papers. In 2000, Poe pleaded no contest to charges of felony auto insurance fraud and misdemeanor filing of a false police report brought against her in connection with her reporting her car stolen, Poe's lawyers state in their court papers.
The auto was later found at the home of Poe's brother and the plaintiff, unaware that the vehicle was there, made an insurance claim and received funds, Poe's lawyers state. Poe entered a plea deal in which she paid restitution and completed probation and community service, her no contest plea was later withdrawn and the case was dismissed, according to Poe's lawyers' court papers. After learning of the blogger's alleged threat, Poe complained to a deputy superintendent, according to the lawsuit, which says the blogger then made the same demand via email for dismissal of the citation by Poe. The blogger published the negative information about Poe on Sept. 4, 2019, and the plaintiff was suspended the next day, the suit says.
In October 2019, a television news report ``painted a horrible picture of Poe alleging that Poe should never had been hired,'' the suit states. The BPUSD had promised Poe it would correct the portrayal of her in the news segment, but did not do anything to respond to the reports, effectively admitting and acknowledging the statements, the suit alleges.