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NORWALK : Candidate Faces Harassment Charges

March 03, 1994|JILL GOTTESMAN

New sexual harassment allegations have surfaced against a former city administrator who was fired last year after two employees accused him of similar misconduct.

The most recent allegations against former Social Services Director Jesse Luera, who is running for City Council in the April 12 election, were revealed in a claim filed against the city last month.

In her claim, Rachel Pedraza, the city's child development program director, said Luera made inappropriate sexual advances for nearly five years. Pedraza suffered "severe emotional and mental stress," according to the claim. She has been on a medical disability leave since last fall.

Luera, 61, who is president of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, did not return telephone calls seeking his comment. His attorney, Augustin Jimenez, declined to discuss the case.

Luera was fired last May after two other employees accused him of sexual harassment. He appealed, but a city personnel board upheld his termination last month.

He faced similar allegations in 1983. He was placed on a 30-day paid leave after a city employee alleged that he made suggestive comments and was verbally abusive. An independent investigator later found the allegations to be unsubstantiated.

No criminal charges have been filed against Luera.

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