Health inspector accused of groping on job

POMONA, Calif. The man and wife who own the donut shop on Temple Avenue are immigrants from Cambodia, but they've lived here for 20 years and they say they're happy to comply with all regulations that pertain to eating establishments, and that includes county health inspections. The wife says she's not happy with the inspection she got last month.

"Mrs. C." asked that her real name not be used. On March 24, Mrs. C. was in the back where donuts are prepared. That day a county health inspector entered, showed his card and asked to inspect the shop's equipment.

Pixie Donuts has an extensive video surveillance system, and video shot by a camera in the back room shows the inspector working. But his businesslike demeanor changed after Mr. C. told him that he had to leave to pick up the couple's children.

Tim McDonough is the attorney for the couple.

"The first actual assault was a hug, at which point the female store owner distracts him and says, 'I have to look out for the customers,' and she escapes, and after that a second altercation occurs where she's reeled in and of course there's some groping that occurs, and some inappropriate hand touching and things of that nature, and at that point a second escape occurs that then leads on to a third physical altercation," said McDonough.

McDonough said Mrs. C. feared if she made a fuss, the inspector would flunk the shop and the family would lose its livelihood. At one point Mr. C. returned to the shop and the inspector left. At first, she didn't tell him what happened and when he left again, the inspector came back.

"He spends about 15 minutes on the premises asking the female store owner if he can date her, and asks for her phone number and apparently leaves another business card with her in an attempt to solicit her to engage in some sort of encounter with him in the future," said McDonough.

At the end of March, Mrs. C. filed a criminal sexual battery complaint against the inspector.

Pomona Police Tuesday did not respond to a request for information about the status of the case. Tuesday afternoon, the county health department said it's taking the allegation seriously and has placed the inspector on leave without pay.

In a statement, the department said: "We are fully cooperating with all authorities. If allegations are proved correct, we will take swift and decisive action."

McDonough thinks that there's a chance that other female business owners have been groped by the same inspector and haven't come forward because they have evidence or proof. He says they should come forward now.

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