Arroyo Grande chief’s history of sexual harassment allegations
March 15, 2012
Complaints of sexual harassment against Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steve Annibali and his former commander John Hough appear to mirror allegations two women made against them while they worked for the Breckenridge Colorado police department, according to the 1998 and 2001 claims.
Two Arroyo Grande female officers filed similar lawsuits last year claiming the department is run under a culture of sexual discrimination and harassment.
Problems began in Arroyo Grande, according to the lawsuits, when three female officers reported to their superiors in May 2007 that officer Barry Bridge was sexually harassing them. The women said Bridge would make offensive and demeaning remarks to them. And while Annibali offered Bridge a full retirement with no disciplinary actions, city officials admonished the women for making the allegations, the lawsuits say.
About 10 years ago, two claims of discrimination and retaliation were filed against the city of Breckenridge by several female officers in its police department where Annabali served as chief.
The women said, according to the claims, that they first took their concerns to Annabali which they contend resulted in him retaliating against them. The city of Breckenridge settled the two suits for a total of $72,500, according to the Tribune.
Before Annibali became chief in 2007, Steve Adams, Arroyo Grande city manager, and Jim Gardiner, a former San Luis Obispo police chief and private investigator, both performed background checks on Annibali which failed to uncovered the Breckenridge claims.
About three months ago, private investigator and former San Luis Obispo police officer Mike Brennler began looking into Annibali’s past for a client and discovered the former sexual harassment suits and settlements.