BRIGHTON, Colo. — A Brighton Police Department officer falsely accused of sex trafficking is suing the city of Brighton, according to court documents.
Tania Loya is described as a “dedicated and successful employee” with the city of Brighton since she was hired in January 2016.
“Officer Loya became the victim of repeated harassment based on false accusations, her race and her gender at the hands of Police Chief Southard, Commander Wegscheider, Sergeant Moore, Sergeant Stolte and Ruth DeCrescentis,” the lawsuit says.
Brighton police asked the FBI to investigate Loya in March 2017 after a woman named Vanessa Garcia alleged that officer Loya had kidnapped, tortured and sexually assaulted her.
In February, Garcia, 22, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of perjury and false information.
“I’m kind of shocked, given that I was facing life [in prison] and she’s only getting probation,” Loya said at the time.
According to the new lawsuit, while two male officers were also falsely accused of sex trafficking and sexual assault, Loya was the only one investigated and put on leave.
She said she was suspended from work for three months until the FBI exonerated her. She returned to work in June 2017.
“Upon returning from work, Officer Loya was the victim of workplace harassment resulting in a hostile work environment. Officer Loya informed human resources of the repeated harassment and Officer Loya was placed on administrative leave again,” the lawsuit states, explaining that Loya was placed on leave each time she tried to stand up for herself.
The lawsuit claims the city of Brighton discriminated against Loya because of her sex, race, gender and false accusations creating a hostile work environment and retaliated against her.
It says those actions are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.