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Supervisor Fletcher resigns following sexual harassment lawsuit

Editor’s note: The following story contains descriptions of sexual harassment and assault, which some readers may find disturbing.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher resigned Wednesday night after being sued for sexual assault and sexual harassment.

He posted on Twitter that he was resigning from the Board of Supervisors at the request of his wife, former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, to focus on his mental health. Gonzalez Fletcher is currently chief officer of the California Labor Federation.

"The strain on my wife and family over this past week has been immense and unbearable. A combination of my personal mistakes plus false accusations has created a burden that my family shouldn't have to bear. I will be resigning from the Board of Supervisors, effective at the end of my medical leave," Fletcher posted on Twitter.


Fletcher's office clarified on Thursday morning that the effective date would be May 15, 2023, at 5 p.m.

Fletcher Gonzalez posted on Twitter that she asked her husband to resign "to lessen the strain on our family."

"I'm relieved he is finally getting treatment he needs. Thank you to everyone who has reached out today," Fletcher Gonzalez posted on Twitter.

Fletcher posted on Twitter that his decision to resign was "solely based on what is best for my family."

"I am grateful to my constituents for the honor of serving you, my incredible team who worked tirelessly to make a real difference, and our county workers who put it all on the line for those most in need everyday. I am proud of what we accomplished together," Fletcher said in the post.


The lawsuit filed on Wednesday names Fletcher and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). It was filed by former MTS employee Grecia Figueroa. It alleges sexual harassment, sexual assault, failure to prevent sexual harassment, and whistleblower retaliation. Fletcher was the Chair of the MTS Board of Directors at the time of the alleged harassment and assault.

Figueroa and her lawyer, Zachary Schumacher, did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit alleges Fletcher “stalked” Figueroa’s Instagram account for nearly a year before making physical advances.

“Figueroa felt obliged to entertain the chairman of the MTS Board — the pinnacle managing agent for her employer — and thus responded in kind to Fletcher’s comments,” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Fletcher’s advances escalated in May 2022 when he allegedly asked to meet Figueroa outside of work at a hotel where he was staying.

“Once in the stairwell, Fletcher quickly asked to kiss Ms. Figueroa but she rejected his advance, pointing out that he was married and she had no intention of having more than a conversation,” the complaint states.

However, Fletcher allegedly “encouraged her to have a few drinks so they could continue talking.”

“Figueroa felt pressured to reciprocate Fletcher’s advances because she knew he had authority, as both a career Politician and as Chair of the MTS Board, to destroy her career at MTS and to potentially humiliate her publicly if she made him angry,” the complaint states.

Figueroa accuses Fletcher of sexually assaulting her twice — both times after MTS events in 2022.

The first allegedly took place in June 2022 after an MTS Executive Committee meeting when Fletcher asked Figueroa to enter a nearby conference room.

“When she got to the room, Fletcher asked her to close the door. He then put his mouth against hers and began to grab her breasts through her clothes. Ms. Figueroa pushed him back because she was not comfortable having this type of encounter with him, especially at MTS headquarters,” the complaint states.

In December 2022, after another MTS Executive Committee meeting, Fletcher allegedly assaulted her again.

“By late 2022, Ms. Figueroa felt an inescapable blanket of shame, distrust, and entrapment as she realized there was no way to avoid the emotional prison Fletcher created for her at MTS,” the complaint states.

After the second alleged assault, Figueroa became increasingly concerned that people at MTS knew that Fletcher was pursuing her sexually. She mentioned one instance of San Diego Councilmember and MTS Board member Sean Elo-Rivera going “out of his way to stare at her in the audience while she was entering the MTS boardroom,” according to the complaint.

“This strange, unprovoked interaction, among other factors, further supported Ms. Figueroa’s fearful suspicion,” the lawsuit states.

Elo-Rivera released the following statement Wednesday:

“It has come to my attention that I am mentioned in Ms. Figueroa’s lawsuit against Supervisor Fletcher and MTS. I am alarmed by the allegations against Mr. Fletcher and am very disappointed to learn there was inappropriate conduct. Sexual relationships between a person in a position of power and an employee are unacceptable and unprofessional. I was completely unaware until today of any inappropriate conduct or communications between Ms. Figueroa and Supervisor Fletcher, and I do not condone such behavior.”

Grecia Figueroa, former MTS employee, speaks at a news conference attended by San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Dec. 2, 2022.
Carlos Castillo
Grecia Figueroa, former MTS employee, speaks at a news conference attended by San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Dec. 2, 2022.

Figueroa claims MTS fired her abruptly and without warning on Feb. 6 — the same day Fletcher announced his candidacy for California State Senate.

In a statement released Thursday, MTS General Counsel Karen Landers said Figueroa was fired due to "ongoing performance concerns," and MTS executive management was not aware of any allegations against Fletcher until March 28, when the lawsuit was filed. The statement also says no board members, including Fletcher, were "aware of or involved in the decision to terminate Ms. Figueroa."

In a Wednesday statement, Landers announced Fletcher resigned from his position as board chair Tuesday night and San Diego City Councilmember and MTS Board Vice Chair Stephen Whitburn will assume the position in the interim.

"MTS is aware of the lawsuit from a former MTS employee and has engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. MTS does not comment on pending litigation," the statement read.

Before suing Fletcher, Figueroa claims she tried to “engage in meaningful, pre-litigation settlement discussions with Fletcher to resolve her claims quietly and amicably,” according to the lawsuit.

However, Fletcher’s legal team allegedly threatened her with legal action if she ever made their affair public.

“Fletcher’s counsel conveyed that Fletcher and his wife, Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, intended to sue Ms. Figueroa for extortion if Ms. Figueroa filed a civil suit,” the complaint states.

Wednesday morning, Fletcher claimed he had a consensual affair with Figueroa in a news release but said allegations in the lawsuit are false.

“Last year, I made a terrible mistake engaging in consensual interactions with someone outside my marriage,” Fletcher said in the statement. “I made clear it could not continue or advance and desperately hoped I could leave this mistake in my past. However, this individual and an attorney demanded millions of dollars from me and my family with the threat of not only embarrassment but a willingness to lie about the circumstances and nature of the interactions.”

Danielle Hultenius Moore, the attorney for Fletcher, said in the same statement that Figueroa is attempting to obtain “millions of dollars” from him.

“We have asked the authorities to investigate these efforts and are pursuing our own legal response,” Moore said. “The simple truth is that Ms. Figueroa pursued my client, their interactions were consensual and Mr. Fletcher does not and never had authority over her employment. We will aggressively fight this issue in court and the full record will show the truth.”

The lawsuit comes days after Fletcher announced he is taking a medical leave due to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse. Fletcher also said Sunday he is dropping out of the 2024 state Senate race to replace Toni Atkins.