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Female firefighter wins harassment case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A female Albuquerque firefighter was awarded $183,000 in damages Friday after a jury ruled in her favor in a lawsuit that accused fellow city firefighters of sexual harassment.

The 2nd Judicial District Court jury found the city violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act and that firefighter Adele Parker, who also goes by Adele Ortega, should receive $175,000 for pain and suffering and about $8,000 for past and future medical bills.

Parker’s lawsuit filed against the city in 2013 accused firefighters of walking in and spying on her in the shower, hiding sex toys in her bunk, stealing her underwear, watching pornography at a fire station, grabbing her and making sexual jokes at her expense.

The trial before Chief Judge Nan Nash started April 3 and wrapped up Friday.

“Vulgar things have been said to her over the past five years, and there’s been some pretty severe assault to her body,” Parker’s attorney, Michael Cadigan, said Saturday. “And the fire department knew about it.”

Parker, in a February interview with the Journal, said she brought the suit against the city in hopes of making the department a better place to work for female firefighters.

“Her main concern is that … the department takes sexual harassment seriously,” Cadigan said. “I think she hopes this will ensure the department investigates (sexual harassment) properly and disciplines people involved in it.”

Melissa Romero, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Fire Department, declined to comment on the lawsuit Saturday.

Parker still works for the fire department.

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