Parole Officer Accused of Sexual Harassment | Courthouse News Service
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Parole Officer Accused of Sexual Harassment

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A federal probation officer subjected his parolee to outrageous harassment, telling her about masturbating to a photo he took of her breasts, she claims in court.

Though the plaintiff identifies herself in the Feb. 13 federal complaint against U.S. probation officer Omar Cedeno, Courthouse News has redacted the name because of the graphic nature of the claims.

Now a resident of Springfield, Pa., the plaintiff says she was living in Clifton Heights when Cedeno strapped on her ankle bracelet to monitor her release from a federal prison in December 2013.

Cedeno allegedly told the plaintiff that he was in an "open marriage" with his wife and that he wanted to have sex with her. The plaintiff says she declined but was frightened of reporting him out of fear that he would take retribution against her.

Apparently not heeding her disinterest, Cedeno went to the plaintiff's house and ordered her to remove her clothes and bra and took a photograph of her breasts, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff says Cedeno later called her and said he had had pulled his car over to the side of the road and was "jerking off" to that picture.

Cedeno is also described in the complaint as asking the plaintiff for oral sex and calling her to say he wanted to "feel [her] legs shaking around [his] face."

The plaintiff allegedly received unseemly text messages from Cedeno, as well, quoting one as asking what color underwear she was wearing.

"Cedenor's behavior towards Ms. Gardner was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to maintain control over Ms. Gardner as a probationer under his supervision," the complaint says. "Alternatively, upon information and belief, Cedeno's behavior towards Ms. Gardner was motivated by a desire to develop a closer and friendlier relationship with Ms. Gardner in order to make it easier to supervise her as a probationer."

The plaintiff says the terms of her probation meant that she was confined to her sister's home, with electronic monitoring, because a drunken-driving incident violated the terms of her release.

When the last day of home confinement arrived in May 2013, that sister allegedly ordered the plaintiff to leave her house.

The plaintiff says she became intoxicated and confided in a female probation officer about Cedeno's advances.

Though not surprised by the plaintiff's claims, this probation officer said there was nothing she could do, according to the complaint. She instead reported the plaintiff, who had gone to West Virginia, though it violated the terms of her probation, because she allegedly lacked a stable place to stay in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

After the plaintiff was put in prison again for violating the terms of her supervised release, she allegedly learned that Cebeno had harassed at least one other parolee. The plaintiff says she lodged a complaint with the U.S. Probation Office, which took no action disciplinary action against Cedeno.

Shortly thereafter, however, Cedeno was "abrupt[y] no longer employed" by the office, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff seeks punitive damages from Cedeno and the United States for assault, battery, and other claims. She is represented by Jonathan Feinberg and Susan Lin of Kairys Rodovsky Messing & Feinberg.

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