Dr. Sabrena Turner-Odom is a tenured professor on the campus of Los Angeles Southwest College (“LASC”). LASC is one of 9 community colleges that is a part of the Los Angeles Community College District (“LACCD”). Dr. Odom is a well-loved English Professor who was highly visible on the LASC campus and she managed the Student Success Center- a venue that was created to promote the success of students on the LASC campus through tutoring and other academic support. Dr. Odom reported to Vice President Lawrence Bradly who was the Vice President over Academic Affairs at LASC. Defendant Dr. Howard Irvin was hired by LASC in 2016 as the Vice President of Student Services. Dr. Irvin had a prior history as an LAPD officer wherein he had 3 prior restraining orders against him from prior girlfriends based on accusations of him stalking them and other violence ranging from him breaking one girlfriend’s neck to holding a gun to another girlfriend’s head. From February 2017 to October 2017, Dr. Irvin engaged in an ongoing pattern of sexual harassment and retaliation against Dr. Odom wherein he made numerous offers of sex to Dr. Odom. In total he made over 30 sexual advances and comments to Dr. Odom. When Dr. Odom continuously and adamantly refused his advances, Dr. Irvin sought to retaliate against her by using his financial power to move the Student Success Center to be under his supervision and he targeted and fired two of Dr. Odom’s best student workers Eddie Powell and Jennifer Gallegos from their employment with LASC. Dr. Odom complained to numerous colleagues on campus and even made a complaint to interim college President Dr. Denise Noldon in November 2017. After LACCD failed to take action and stop Dr. Irvin, Dr. Odom eventually made a formal written complaint to LACCD’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. An investigation was performed by Muriel Alford who failed to contact key witnesses and failed to consider Dr. Irvin’s past history of stalking women. Muriel Alford in her investigation concluded that Dr. Odom’s claims of sexual harassment lacked merit and nothing was done in response to Dr. Odom’s Complaint. After the sexual harassment, Dr. Odom became a recluse and stopped being visible on campus at LASC. However, she continued to teach there because she is tenured.
Trial commenced on October 3, 2022. On October 21, 2022 the jury rendered a verdict of 10 million dollars for Non-Economic Damages in favor of Dr. Odom and against LACCD and Dr. Howard Irvin.