Sat. Apr 1st, 2023
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announces during a press conference that the charges in the case against Dr. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley are being dropped citing a lack of evidence and accusing his predecessor of mishandling the case, at the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday morning, February 4, 2020, in Santa Ana. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Fourth Sexual Harassment Claim Filed Against OCDA and ‘Best Friend

Claim alleges Todd Spitzer knew of his friend’s bad behavior but promoted him to one of the highest positions in the office

By  | | Orange County Register

A fourth sexual harassment claim has been filed against a retired high-level prosecutor in Orange County, alleging that District Attorney Todd Spitzer witnessed the misbehavior but protected and even promoted the offender.

The newest claim, filed Tuesday, against Spitzer and former Senior Assistant District Attorney Gary Logalbo — Spitzer’s former roommate and best man at his wedding decades ago — typically is a precursor to a lawsuit. Attorney Matt Murphy, a former prosecutor, is representing the four claimants, all deputy district attorneys. Murphy spends much of the latest document blasting Spitzer for promoting to management his so-called best friend — known among veteran female employees as “Scary Gary.”

The claim says Spitzer’s tough talk against harassment in the workplace doesn’t apply to those closest to him and alleges he tried to retaliate against one of the four Jane Does who filed claims.

‘Denials’ and ‘victim blaming’

The accusations have been met with an “angry tone, denials and overt victim blaming” by Spitzer, said the claim.

“The reason people were so deeply reticent to complain of this behavior was not fear of Mr. Logalbo, but because they feared, and continue to fear, the well-documented wrath of Todd Spitzer,” said the document, which like the first three seeks unspecified damages.

Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for Spitzer, responded that the claim mischaracterizes the district attorney.

“We are incredibly disturbed by the allegations being made by several women in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. No one should have to suffer in silence and these women will be protected,” Edds wrote in a prepared statement Wednesday. “As soon as allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior came to our attention, we handled them immediately and lawfully. This fact is indisputable. … We do not need lawsuits to tell us to do the right thing. The right thing is already being done.”

Spitzer added that no official complaints were made against Logalbo — nor were any in his employment file — until November.

Logalbo was first promoted to management in 2019 and then to senior assistant district attorney in early November. Shortly afterward, the allegations against him began to surface, Spitzer has said. Logalbo resigned abruptly on Dec. 11. Spitzer has acknowledged his personal relationship with Logalbo, but denies he is his “best friend.”

Teen intern harassed?

The claim mentions another unnamed, extra-help prosecutor — a former volunteer in Spitzer’s 2018 election campaign — who allegedly harassed a 16-year-old intern. Jane Doe 4 witnessed the harassment and reported it to management, but Spitzer interceded on behalf of the prosecutor, the claim says. The alleged harasser was later “released from OCDA employment” after failing a second background check, Murphy wrote.

“Two men, each with personal relationships to the district attorney, acted with impunity when it came to the pervasive sexual harassment of at least four adult women and one teenage girl,” the document said.

The system worked

Edds responded that the system worked and the extra-help lawyer was let go.

As far as Logalbo, Jane Doe 4 describes one incident in which she was discussing a child annoyance case with him when he said, “Talking about all this sex stuff makes me horny.”

The document alleges that Chief Assistant District Attorney Shawn Nelson and Spitzer witnessed Logalbo’s misconduct but did nothing. Spitzer even raised Logalbo to the highest management post in the office, despite protests from supervisors aware of his antics, the claim said.

Before he left, Logalbo was allowed to conduct a promotion interview of one of the claimants, Jane Doe 2. She didn’t get the job.

Murphy, in the claim, also accused Spitzer of sidestepping government procedure and leaking the first three claims to the media in an effort to “control the narrative.” Edds, however, said the claims are public documents that must be released upon request. They were filed with the county and therefore public, Spitzer said.




Tony Saavedra | Reporter

Tony Saavedra is an investigative reporter specializing in legal affairs for the Orange County Register. His work has been recognized by the National Headliner Club, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and the Orange County Press Club. His stories have led to the closure of a chain of badly-run group homes, the end of a state program that placed criminals in inappropriate public jobs and the creation of a civilian oversight office for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, among other things. Saavedra has covered the Los Angeles riots, the O.J. Simpson case, the downfall of Orange County Sheriff-turned felon Michael S. Carona and the use of unauthorized drugs by Olympian Carl Lewis. Saavedra has worked as a journalist since 1979 and has held positions at several Southern California newspapers before arriving at the Orange County Register in 1990. He graduated from California State University, Fullerton, in 1981 with a bachelor of arts in communication.