The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $875,000 to three dispatchers and their attorneys to settle a federal lawsuit in which the women claim they were sexually harassed at their job, which also led to the ousters of the sheriff and undersheriff.
The settlement comes more than two years after the dispatchers Maria Chavez, Chelsa Parsons and Nicole Gardner began accused then Undersheriff Fernando Mendoza of repeatedly sexually harassed them on duty. The women said that Sheriff Rodney Fenske ignored their pleas for change.
Mendoza was fired in November 2017 for his conduct and for a case in which he was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with his stepdaughter. He was convicted by a Lake County jury in December 2018 of attempted first degree incest and sentenced to 15 months in jail in April 2019.
Fenske did not run for re-election in 2018.