RANCHO PALOS VERDES (CBSLA) – Eight current and former female employees of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes have come forward with claims they were sexually harassed or sexual assaulted while working at the luxury resort.

Silvia Jasmin Sanchez speaks at a news conference on Oct. 18, 2018. (CBS2)

The eight women held a news conference with the media Thursday morning in Hollywood to discuss the allegations.

One of those women, Silvia Jasmin Sanchez, told The Guardian newspaper this week that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by the resort’s former loss prevention manager, Stephen Harrington. She filed a lawsuit against Terranea in September.

“A supervisor in the Terranea security team, began sending me sexually offensive text messages,” Sanchez told reporters Thursday.

She told The Guardian that, in August 2016, after reporting Harrington’s repeated sexual harassment to human resources, he cornered and sexually assaulted her in retaliation. He resigned his position in November of that year, the resort confirmed.

In May, a former dishwasher at the resort, Sandra Pezqueda, received $250,000 as part of a settlement for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Pezqueda alleged that she was fired for complaining to management about being sexually harassed by a male supervisor.

“In one occasion, he tried to kiss me at work,” Pezqueda said Thursday through an interpreter.

In an email, a Terranea spokesperson told CBS2 Thursday that the settlement involved her direct employer, a cleaning company called Excel Maintenance, which was contracted with Terranea. The spokesperson said that Terranea was “cleared of all ties involving this lawsuit.”

Pezqueda alleged the supervisor pursued her for months and cut her hours after she denied his advances. She was ultimately fired.

Pezqueda’s story gained national attention and she was featured in Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” issue in 2017 as part of the #MeToo movement.

According to The Guardian, Harrington was in charge of conducting the internal investigation into Pezqueda’s claims.

Sanchez and Pezqueda are the only two of the eight women who filed lawsuits. The statute of limitations expired for the other six.

“Terranea takes all staff comments and concerns very seriously, as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure our associates have a workplace in which they feel valued, respected and safe,” Terranea said in a statement Thursday. “Terranea vehemently denies the allegations being leveled against it by former employees and one current employee that have recently been reported. Terranea has a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment of any kind. We do not comment on pending litigation.”

Comments (2)
  1. Ken Greger says:

    Good afternoon –

    We’ve witnessed a lot of horrid behavior with the recent Kavanaugh hearings and more, and Carlos’ article about purported sexual harassment at Terranea Resort is – whether he intended or not – another example of this. Let me explain the other side of the story – the factual side:
    First-of-all, Terranea and its parent company is a long-time client of mine and widely respected as a moral, ethical organization. Not only do I know the quality of the executive team at this A++ resort, but I know the President quite well. You may be surprised to learn that the President is a woman – Terri Haack – who is, honestly, one of the most authentically gracious, caring people I’ve ever met anywhere. She sets an example that permeates the entire resort culture, right down to the front-line associates. I know for a fact that there is zero tolerance at Terranea for what is being reported. And let’s face it – if an employee doesn’t report an act, management cannot respond.

    No, this isn’t about sexual harassment at Terranea – I assure you. This is about the union, UniteHere, that has been trying for one year now to impose itself on a resort that has no need for it because the employees are well-treated and well-paid. The union has been nothing short of ruthless in its effort to cause harm to Terranea, including directly contacting large group clients of the resort and exhorting them to cancel their events or face pressure themselves. The LA Times has been a willing accomplice, partly because it’s “news” (that the Times has been helping to create) and has been willing to print stories that have not been verified. In addition, of the less than 1% (if that) of employees at Terranea who “might” be open to a union, the father of one such employee is an editor at the LA Times. Hmmmm….

    There are all forms of harassment. You’re witnessing a truly wonderful resort organization and it’s gracious, moral leader being utterly slandered. Don’t believe it. Don’t be a part of it. And, by-the-way, cancel your LA Times subscription. I know what the facts are in this instance, and make no mistake – Terranea is the victim here.


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