Ex-DYS staff who filed sex harassment suit loses lawyer

A former social worker in the Child Protection Unit of the Division of Youth Services who sued her then-supervisor last month in federal court for alleged sex harassment has been left with no lawyer.

This developed after the former social worker’s counsel, Joseph E. Horey, withdrew and asked the court to appoint a new counsel for her.

Saipan Tribune opted for the meantime to withhold the plaintiff’s name. She appeared via telephone at the hearing since she currently lives in Vancouver, Washington.

According to the minutes of the hearing last week, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Horey’s motion to withdraw.

Horey agreed with Manglona that the complaint has not been served yet on defendant Julian R. Camacho and co-defendants.

The minutes of the hearing did not indicate as to why Horey withdrew as counsel.

Manglona gave the plaintiff some time to find a new lawyer.

She informed the plaintiff that she was now proceeding pro se (without a lawyer) and if she has questions regarding the procedural aspects of the case, she may contact the clerk’s office.

The plaintiff said she contacted a total of six lawyers, including Horey, to represent her.

Aside from plaintiff’s then-supervisor with DYS, Camacho, she also named as co-defendants the CNMI government, and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.

The plaintiff is suing Camacho for alleged violation of her civil rights, and the CNMI government and DCCA DYS for unlawful employment practices and violation of her civil rights. She demanded a jury trial.

She asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay her damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees in unspecified amount.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was employed by the Commonwealth as a social worker in the Child Protection Unit of DYS from December 2012 to May 2014.

Camacho, the plaintiff’s male supervisor in the CPU, allegedly repeatedly subjected her to verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature, including making sexual advances.

The plaintiff said she complained to the heads of DCCA and DYS about the supervisor’s conduct, but they failed to take adequate or effective action to protect her.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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