The Los Angeles County Probation Dept. is asking a judge to overturn a Los Angeles Civil Service Commission ruling that allowed a member of the department who had a relationship with a convicted felon to be retained with a suspension rather than be fired.
The Probation Department petition, filed Monday, deals with decisions surrounding Deputy Probation Officer Sherell Taylor-Page, who had a relationship with Larry Springer, a parolee and convicted felon, according to the department’s court papers. The Probation Department maintains the Civil Service Commission abused its discretion by reducing a hearing officer’s firing recommendation to reinstatement and a 30-day suspension.
“The aggregation of all evidence shows that Taylor-Page knew or should have known Springer’s criminal history throughout her lifelong relationship with him, undermining the department’s moral and ethical standards,” the petition states.
The Probation Department has written policy prohibiting department employees from establishing or maintaining a personal social association with identified criminals, incarcerated people, and felons on parole or probation unless they have written permission from the employee’s bureau chief, yet Taylor-Page never notified the department of her relationship with Springer, the petition states. A representative for the Civil Service Commission could not be immediately reached.
Taylor-Page was hired by the county in 1993 in the Health Services Department, then transferred seven years later to the Probation Department as a detention services officer before being promoted to a deputy probation officer, the petition states.
“As a DPO, Taylor-Page was tasked with great responsibilities and was held to higher classification standards, and was required to have higher education and use sound judgment at all times,” the petition states.
Springer has a long criminal history that includes arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft, the petition states. He has served prison and jail time in California, Nevada and Colorado and he served his parole in Los Angeles, where he began “a recurrent romantic relationship with (the married) Taylor-Page” in 2013, according to the petition, which further states that the pair grew up in the same neighborhood and had previously been romantically involved when she was 17 years old. Spring and Taylor-Page attended parties together, traveled to Las Vegas and New Orleans and worked with a real estate agent while trying to buy property, the petition states.
“Taylor-Page admits she was sexually intimate with Springer at least once in December 2014,” the petition states. Taylor-Page continued associating with Springer even after filing a petition for a restraining order against him in 2015, according to the petition.
Taylor-Page’s supervisor learned of the probation officer’s relationship with Springer from Springer himself and confronted her subordinate during an investigative interview in October 2017, the petition states.
“Taylor-Page testified she did not previously know of Springer’s criminal history or parole status, but when told of his criminal history, she seemed uninterested since she showed no surprise,” the petition states. Despite being formally told of Springer’s criminal past, Taylor-Page accepted him as a follower on her Instagram account, according to the petition.
A hearing officer found all charges against Taylor-Page were true and recommended she be fired, but Taylor-Page appealed to the Civil Service Commission, which adopted all of the hearing officer’s findings, yet reinstated her with a suspension, the petition states.
While the hearing officer found all charges against Taylor-Page were true and founded, the commission abused its discretion when it overturned the hearing officer’s recommendation to sustain discharge and arbitrarily assigned a 30-day suspension,” the petition states.