LYNWOOD (CBSLA) — A woman whose sexual abuse allegations forced a Lynwood councilman to step down as mayor pro tem addressed the accusations publicly Thursday, and she’s putting part of the blame on the city.
Monica Ochoa accused Edwin Hernandez of sexual impropriety publicly for the first time since her attorney announced the allegations earlier this week.
Ochoa detailed some of the alleged harassment to reporters, claiming Hernandez texted her saying he wanted to “kiss her pink lips.” The 17-year veteran employee of the City of Lynwood said the harassment went on for nearly two years, even throughout her pregnancy.
Ochoa said that while she was grieving her mother’s death, Hernandez asked her to dinner. “I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond,” said Ochoa, adding that Hernandez then told her they should have “breakfast in bed.”
Her attorney Lisa Bloom said Ochoa told the City of Lynwood of the impropriety in December, but that nothing was done.
“At that point, the city’s legal obligation was to conduct an immediate investigation and correct the problem,” Bloom told reporters.
“[W]e officially found out of the allegations, and we took immediate actions to have a special council meeting and deal with our attorneys, deal with our staff to find out what all was happening,” Lynwood Mayor Jose Luis Solache told CBS2 News.
“We have since hired an independent investigator to make sure a non-biased person comes in and investigates this because no woman or any employee should feel harassed in the workplace,” Solache added.
It is not yet clear why the city council waited until February to take action.
Hernandez is also the pastor of the Iglesias Pentecosteses Templo Calvario church, according to Facebook.
CBS2 reporter Amy Johnson went to the church but was told Hernandez was not there Thursday.
Hernandez is on a leave from the council and is no longer attending their meetings, the city said.
Though he has stepped down as mayor pro tem of Lynwood, only the voters can kick him out of office.