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Wrong Lesa Donnelly?

Ms. Lesa L. Donnelly

Vice President

USDA Coalition of Minority Employees

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USDA Coalition of Minority Employees

Background Information

Employment History


Forest Service Agency

Vice President-Coalition

Minority Employees

National Vice President

Department of Agriculture Coalition of Minority Employees

Forest Service Fire Fighter

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Web References (21 Total References)

Lesa Donnelly is a former ... [cached]

Lesa Donnelly is a former Forest Service administrator who worked for the agency from 1978 to 2002. In 1994, she filed a complaint charging that three of her male colleagues were harassing her. After word spread (incorrectly) that she planned to file a class-action lawsuit, she received dozens of calls. She heard from women who claimed they were being threatened with physical and sexual assault, and women who said they'd been punished for making complaints. One said the men on her crew joked about raping her in her sleep and had tied her blood-stained underwear to the antenna of their fire truck. Two women told her that a notice in their office about the Bernardi consent decree had been defaced with a scrawled reference to the "cuntsent decree. She realized her own complaint was "nothing compared to what I found out was happening."

Eventually, Donnelly compiled claims from 50 women, and in 1995 she filed a class-action suit against the Forest Service, including declarations from many of the woman who had reached out to her. The agency negotiated a settlement that allowed for continued court oversight of California's Forest Service. But when the monitoring period ended in 2006, the old problems soon resurfaced, as Donnelly would describe in testimony to Congress two years later. One dispatcher reported that she'd been sexually assaulted and stalked by a manager. He was made to resign, but after six months the Forest Service tried to work with him again. In 2008, a male supervisor at the same forest said that he hated a black female employee and wanted to shoot subordinates he hated. When the employee reported the comment, the district ranger told her to ignore him.
This year, I met Donnelly, who is 58, in El Dorado Hills, outside Sacramento. Now the vice president of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, a civil rights group, she has the demeanor of a friendly bulldog. She told me that nearly every year for the last 15 years, she has traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby the USDA, Congress, and the White House to protect women in the service. She managed to enlist the help of representatives Jackie Speier of California, Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who in 2014 petitioned the USDA to investigate, without success. Each time Donnelly comes to D.C., she added, she brings details of 20 to 25 new allegations. But while her fight against the Forest Service has persisted for more than two decades, in the Grand Canyon, similar questions about the treatment of women have only started to surface.
Lesa Donnelly said that in her capacity as an advocate, she has been contacted by scores of women in the service in California who allege they've been punished for pursuing sexual harassment complaints. One 22-year-old forestry technician filed a claim, and, several days afterwards, was visited by officials who searched only her side of the barracks with a drug dog. According to a subsequent complaint she lodged with the Forest Service, her roommate told her that one official had remarked, "You guys must have pissed someone off.
Where Donnelly had tried for decades to get federal authorities to intervene more decisively in the Forest Service, the DOI responded quickly.

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest ... [cached]

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Michael McCray | ACORN 8-The Credible ACORN Whistleblowers | WB Summit 2013 [cached]

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Michael McCray | ACORN 8-The Credible ACORN Whistleblowers | WB Summit 2013 [cached]

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Michael McCray | ACORN 8-The Credible ACORN Whistleblowers | WB Summit 2013 [cached]

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

Lesa Donnelly, USDA Forest Service

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