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Central Basin Water Director Robert Apodaca Hit with Sexual Battery Lawsuit

By Kelli Forsch and Randy Economy
A woman who worked as a public affairs director with the Central Basin Municipal Water District has filed a sexual battery lawsuit against Board Director Robert “Bob” Apodaca alleging, among other things, that her contract was not renewed because she refused Apodaca’s sexual advances.
The lawsuit is the newest development for the beleaguered municipal agency based in Commerce.
Westlake Village-based law firm Sottile-Baltaxe filed the fifteen page complaint at Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this week on behalf of Sigrid Lopez, who served as a public affairs director with the agency for a six month period in 2012.
In the lawsuit Lopez alleges that Apodaca began making lewd comments shortly after she was hired. Lopez claims that Apodaca would speak to her in person or contact her via phone asking her “who do you blow,” telling her that “he would not mind laying into her,” and boasted about “tag teaming” women at conferences he attended, among other things.
HMG-CN published the lawsuit on Thursday afternoon.
The suit requests damages in eight different areas, the most serious of which include assault, battery, and sexual battery. Lopez alleges that Apodaca engaged in a series of inappropriate actions, including trying to kiss her and attempting to stroke her hands and thighs. These actions required Lopez to seek medical attention, which she continues to this day. The lawsuit did not specify her injury.
Lopez further claims that she is still suffering from mental anguish because of her ordeal.
Lopez’s lawsuit also says she repeatedly reported the sexual harassment to the Board, the upper management, and the general council of the CBMWD but no action was taken and the harassment was allowed to continue. Lopez alleges that Apodaca retaliated by not renewing her contract.
Attorney Timothy Sottile said in a telephone interview with HMG-CN that more will be learned about the case during the discovery process. Sottile confirmed the details of the brief that was filed but did not discuss the particular aspects of the lawsuit.

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