ROSEVILLE - A former Roseville police officer is suing the department, claiming she was unfairly fired after an extramarital affair with another officer.
The lawsuit claims former officer Janelle Perez engaged in an affair with Roseville police Officer Shad Begley, but when the affair became public, she was fired while Begley didn't face any substantial disciplinary action.
The complaint filed by Marion Cruz, Perez's attorney, makes the case that Perez was treated differently because of her gender from the outset of her employment in January 2012.
According to the lawsuit, new Roseville police officers go through a mandatory field training officer program. Perez also claims several male officers who joined up around the same time were allowed to complete the program early, while she was not given that option.
Perez also alleges she was required to read a book about emotional survival for law enforcement officers that no male officers were required to read.
But the events that ultimately derailed her career began when Perez and Begley initiated an affair after meeting on the job.
Cruz didn't know exactly when the affair began, but both Perez and Begley divorced their respective spouses in April 2012.
A few months later, Begley's ex-wife wrote a letter of complaint to Roseville Chief of Police Daniel Hahn and the department's Internal Affairs Department.
Leah Begley's letter claimed the Plaintiff and her husband, Shad Begley, had developed and maintained a personal relationship while on duty, including the use of their cell phones to exchange personal calls and text messages with each other, and meeting each other at the fellow police officer's house while on duty, the lawsuit reads.
The letter also suggested that Begley and Perez were engaging in inappropriate contact while on duty.
According to Cruz, the internal affairs investigation that followed concluded Perez and Begley did have an affair and did exchange text messages and phone calls while on duty. However, allegations the officers had any inappropriate physical contact while on duty were never substantiated.
In August 2012, the city sent memos to Perez and Begley informing them the internal affairs investigation was concluded. Police Capt. Stefan Moore told both officers the department had sustained allegations against them of unsatisfactory work performance and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Moore's memo stated that the officers had become involved in an "on duty extramarital relationship" and further conduct of that type would result in further discipline, including termination of their employment.
Two weeks later, Perez was called into Hahn's office and handed a termination letter. According to Cruz, the letter stated Perez was being let go because she had not successfully completed her probationary period.
Begley was not fired or demoted.
It's an explanation that Cruz isn't buying.
"We believe attributing her termination to her probationary status is merely a pretext for gender discrimination," Cruz said. "She and a co-worker each engaged in the same conduct for which only she was fired. The Department has a history of discrimination at the workplace and we believe that there may be evidence to support a custom and practice of unlawful discrimination at RPD."
The Roseville Police Department declined to comment on the story, saying they don't discuss ongoing legal matters.
However, they did confirm Begley is still employed by the department. They also provided a copy of their interoffice relationships policy:
This regulation does not prohibit romantic relationships between employees in different departments and between co-workers in the same department as long as the employees are not in a supervisory/subordinate relationship, the policy states.
A federal judge is giving the city of Roseville until Jan. 31, 2014, to file a written response to the lawsuit.
News10 will update the story as warranted.