A New Jersey prosecutor is being sued for allegedly retaliating against a staff member who refused to process a disc that contained racy photos of her and her husband “in various stages of undress,” according to court papers
Media specialist Henry Hernandez, 50, said he was an “exemplary employee” nicknamed “superman” at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office until prosecutor Camelia Valdes told him to process the digital collection of her personal pics in 2010.
“When he opened the disc on his computer, Plaintiff saw photographs of Valdes and her husband in various stages of undress,” claimed the lawsuit filed in the county the pair worked in together.
“Hernandez did not believe that it was appropriate for him to view these materials and handed the disc back to Valdes and told her that he could not process it,” the lawsuit claimed.
The prosecutor, a mom of two, made a similar request in 2014, this time making clear that “there were personal items on the disc,” including “pictures that were inappropriate in a work environment,” the suit said.
“Again Hernandez refused to process the disc” — just to be “frozen out” at work, the lawsuit alleged.
“He was treated differently and Valdes and other … staff began to act toward him in a much colder manner than before,” the lawsuit alleged.
This became especially evident during the pandemic when Hernandez was the only staffer not to get a plastic shield on his desk, despite his warnings that “he was very concerned about being infected again due to his diabetes and heart issues,” the lawsuit said.
Valdes was first appointed in 2009, making her the first Latina county prosecutor in New Jersey. She declined to discuss the case when reached by NJ Advance Media, saying she does not comment on pending litigation.