A woman who has worked for 12 years for the Hollywood casting firm Breakdown Services on Tuesday filed a lawsuit accusing the company of hiring a registered sex offender who sexually assaulted her on the job.
In her 21-page complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, former customer services assistant Deana Maioli said she was assaulted last September in the company parking lot by a supervisor named Jamal Bryant after a pattern of sexual harassment and threats.
The suit also says that when she reported the sexual assault to company officials, she was forced to repeat her accusations in a semipublic space — and then suspended and later forced to resign. She is seeking unspecified damages. “Defendants paid no attention to Plaintiff’s desperate pleas for help, and when they finally did listen, violated her privacy and made her out to be the wrongdoer,” the suit said.
According to the suit, Bryant is a convicted sex offender who was not vetted by the company and was in fact put in charge of Breakdown’s sexual harassment training program. Maioli said she had to sit through that training after her parking lot encounter with Bryant. The suit does not indicate if she reported the incident to police or is seeking criminal prosecution of Bryant.
There is a Jamal Bryant listed in the California sex offender registry made accessible through Megan’s Law, which requires law enforcement to make information regarding sex offenders available to the public. The crime listed is “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age.” It’s unclear if this Bryant works for Breakdown.
Maioli also accused Bryant of harassment. “Bryant promised Plaintiff raises, promotions, and/or other job benefits in exchange for Plaintiff engaging in sexual acts with him,” according to the suit, which states Bryant was aware Maioli was seeking a promotion or raise from her $17.75 hourly wage. Maioli said she endured repeated threats from Bryant even after she said he sexually assaulted her, at one point mentioning his ability to obtain her home address.
According to the suit, Maioli tried “numerous times” to complain about Bryant to the company’s human resources department. She said her pleas were ignored and she was force to move to an office location closer to Bryant, where she sat with her back to him.
When director of operations Kathleen Bueche did eventually listen to her complaint, the suit says, Bueche “responded with skepticism, annoyance, and indifference” — and then had Maioli repeat her accusations to Marsh and his wife over speakerphone “while a group of employees gathered outside to listen, their presence obvious.”
“The stress, fear, and anxiety that Bryant’s behavior caused was extraordinary, but it is rivaled in terms of audacity and offensiveness by the actions and inactions of Marsh, Bueche, and Breakdown,” according to the suit.
A representative for Breakdown Services did not immediately return a request for comment; Bryant could not immediately be reached.
The complaint is seeking damages for harassment, discrimination, failure to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and discrimination, retaliation, negligent hiring, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and wrongful termination.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.