Riverbank Police Chief Bill Pooley took the stand Thursday and denied all of a female clerk's allegations against him in the fourth week of a high-intrigue sexual harassment trial.
Pooley said simply, "No," when his attorney, Morin Jacob, asked, "Did you ever sexually harass Lydia Lopez?" She had just finished 40 minutes of marching Pooley through a litany of suggestions that Lopez made it all up.
According to Pooley:
He worked with Lopez at a drug unit in 2004, but was reassigned to Sheriff's Department patrol Dec. 10 and was asleep about noon Christmas Eve after working a graveyard shift nowhere near the drug unit. Lopez had testified that Pooley that day forced her to grope his crotch and suggested sex in a sergeant's office.
He never leered at her body or commented on her legs, as she claimed he did in 2006 after he received a promotion to sergeant and returned to the drug unit.
He whispered no lewd question about oral sex after someone arranged a Betty Boop figurine in a compromising position with a plastic toy soldier on her desk. Pooley testified, "I (said), 'That's how they should recruit for the Army.' It was a joke I made as I was walking away." Lopez laughed, he said.
Pooley, 40, said Lopez, 36, was offended when he once made a "stinky" crack as she applied deodorant at her work station. He apologized and returned later to repeat the apology, he said.
Near the beginning of Pooley's testimony, Lopez wordlessly walked across the courtroom to a bailiff's desk next to the six-man, six- woman jury, took a couple of disposable tissues and returned to her seat. She showed no emotion throughout Pool- ey's 40 minutes of denials.
His wife was in the audience, as she has been since testimony began Feb. 4.
Lopez says sheriff's management protected and promoted Pooley while punishing her until she quit under duress in August 2007. She is suing him and the county for "several hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Lopez also claims the county made no allowance for her depression disability as required by law.
Earlier Thursday, defense psychiatrist Bernard Rappaport said Lopez likely faked answers during a lengthy examination, because stress indicators were so much higher than when she underwent a similar test only two weeks earlier.
"People tend to exaggerate something usually for some secondary gain. In other words, they get something for doing that," Rappaport said, such as escaping jury duty or military service -- or to appear a certain way for a lawsuit.
Lopez didn't take doctor- prescribed medication and told him she preferred to conquer depression on her own, Rappaport said.
"I don't believe she needs any treatment," he said.
Test results indicate Lopez has a dependent personality, blames others for her problems and tends to dwell on them, Rappaport said.
Pooley will face cross-examination from Lopez's lawyer when the trial resumes this morning.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2390.