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Former Tampa City Council chairman facing lawsuit alleging sexual harassment of a child

The lawsuit follows a March investigation into the allegations made by a former legislative aide that led to Councilman Orlando Gudes giving up his chairman status.

TAMPA, Fla — The investigation into the now-former Tampa City Council chairman Orlando Gudes continues as his former aide recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of her daughter against him.

The suit accuses Gudes of making a sexual comment toward the child, among other allegations. The legislative aide also claims Gudes refused to discuss community issues with local activists and leaders in his district who were not providing him sexual favors. 

According to the court documents filed May 16, his former aide said Gudes refused to meet with a local pastor, saying, "What do I need to meet with her for? I'm not f------ her."

She also claims he sexually harassed her and others, including sniffing toward her private area one day while picking up work-related paperwork. 

"When he arrived, Mr. Gudes leaned out of his car, sniffed toward [the aide's] groin area and said, 'it smells like you had a man in there today,'" the suit claims. 

The suit continues alleging Gudes made comments about his former legislative aide's daughter's breasts, making homophobic comments about the mayor and comments about the aide's clothes. 

According to the suit, the aide's daughter was 13 at the time of the comment directed at her in which Gudes allegedly told her, "you need to stand up straight. You have really big boobs and if you keep standing like that your boobs will be down to here." 

Gudes is accused of making gestures to signify breasts while speaking to the young girl. The aide said her daughter only wore baggy jackets around Gudes thereafter.

While speaking in reference to the mayor, Gudes is also accused of making an inappropriate comment about Mayor Jane Castor and her partner.

Following the investigation into the initial sexual harassment allegations against Gudes back in August 2021, the city of Tampa hired an independent law firm, Trenam Law, which found that 18 of the 19 initial allegations were likely to be credible.

"Trenam concluded that 18 of 19 allegations appeared more likely than not to have occurred," reads the city's statement.

Despite the report, Gudes' attorney denied all of the allegations and said Gudes "apologized for any words that caused the employee discomfort," according to the city of Tampa.

Continuing, the city says Gudes' attorney said, "The chairman and the employee had been longtime friends before he hired them and that in hindsight, some of his comments were inappropriate." 

Gudes still serves District 5, despite stepping down as chairman. 

10 Tampa Bay has reached out to Gudes and his attorney who have not yet responded with a statement on the recent lawsuit filed.

The legislative aide is asking the court for more than $30,000 in damages and attorney's fees. 

   

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