Monica Ochoa, senior accounting technician with the city of Lynwood, spoke out at a press conference Thursday, Feb. 22 saying she was the woman who had accused the city's Mayor Pro Tem Edwin Hernandez of sexual harassment.
The LA Weekly broke the story on Feb. 13 but did not name Ochoa, who alleged that Hernandez had made unwelcome sexual advances toward her from February 2016 to December 2017, according to a letter from her attorney to the city.
Immediately after the story broke last week, Hernandez voluntarily stepped away from his position as mayor pro tem, though he still retains a place on the City Council.
Ochoa's attorney, Lisa Bloom of the Bloom Law Firm, held the press conference in Los Angeles. Ochoa bravely spoke out, revealing that she was the employee who made the complaint.
“Monica has been toughing this out,” said Bloom at the conference. “But finally, this week, as a result of the City's inaction, Monica was forced to go out on a stress leave, something she really did not want to do.
“And by the way, in all the talk about zero tolerance and taking this seriously, I have yet to hear a denial of Monica's claims from Edwin Hernandez. So we are advising Monica to now take this to the next level, and file a charge of discrimination with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which is the first step before filing a lawsuit to vindicate Monica's rights. We believe that Monica is not the only woman alleging that Edwin Hernandez has harassed her.”
Ochoa confirmed the details the Weekly outlined in the story, while Bloom again said that the city has taken too long to begin any investigation. She also said that, since the LA Weekly broke the story, the city has been more interested in discovering who leaked the letter detailing the allegations than getting to the bottom of the actual claim.
We reached out to the city for comment but, at the time of writing, received no response.
Watch the press conference below.