A former Long Beach police officer alleges she was targeted and wrongfully fired in 2022 after reporting that a supervisor was sexually harassing her, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this month.
In the lawsuit, former Officer Alma Magana accuses former Sgt. Jason Lehman of making unwanted sexual advances while they were both employed with the Long Beach Police Department. She alleges he then retaliated against her with further harassment after she rejected him.
Lehman did not respond when called by the Long Beach Post Friday morning. According to his LinkedIn profile, Lehman left the LBPD in 2022 and now works at Lexipol, which provides training and consulting services to law enforcement agencies. He is also the founder of the nonprofit, Why’d You Stop Me?, which trains officers to better understand community issues while trying to decrease violence between police and the public.
The earliest instance of the alleged sexual harassment began sometime in 2020, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Nov. 3.
According to her complaint, Magana started her pursuit of a career in law enforcement 10 years earlier when she joined the police explorer program. When she became an officer at the LBPD, Lehman, a sergeant at the time, was sometimes her supervisor, according to the lawsuit.
During their interactions, Magana alleges, Lehman would constantly ask about her dating life and attempted to communicate with her outside of work to the extent that she had to block him on all of her social media.
On other occasions, Lehman made Magana meet him at random locations where he’d try to “talk about inappropriate and private topics with her,” according to the lawsuit.
When she’d reject him, Lehman would make comments about her work performance and tell her to “step it up” or “be more proactive,” according to the lawsuit. He’d then also harass the man she was dating, the lawsuit alleges.
Eventually, Magana complained about Lehman’s behavior to Lt. Robert Titus and said how it made her “hate going to work,” according to the lawsuit.
Rather than look into the complaint against Lehman, the lawsuit alleges, the LBPD took no action against him. Instead, it became known around the department that Magana had told on Lehman and soon found herself reassigned to traffic duty, which is considered a less desirable assignment within the LBPD, according to the lawsuit.
Just over a week after filing her complaint against Lehman, Magana was out with her boyfriend and another man when she was drugged, according to the lawsuit. Later that night, she got into an argument with her boyfriend and was taken to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department booking facility, the lawsuit alleges.
This was one of two instances where Magana had interactions with police while off-duty, according to the lawsuit, which alleges the LBPD used those instances as an excuse to launch an investigation into her after she complained about Lehman.
“Both internal affairs investigations against plaintiff were pretextual and retaliatory” according to the lawsuit. “LBPD recommended the Plaintiff’s employment be dismissed because of the two internal affairs cases one of which was not sustained.”
As a result of Lehman’s behavior, Magana suffered prolonged pain and suffering, anxiety, humiliation, and loss of self-esteem, and her earnings, according to the lawsuit. She is now seeking “justice and vindication,” according to the lawsuit.
The LBPD did not immediately respond to questions from the Long Beach Post. The City Attorney’s office, which will handle the lawsuit because the harassment and retaliation is alleged to have occurred while Lehman was employed with the LBPD, declined to comment on the allegations because it is active litigation.