UHP sergeant sued for sexual harassment

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) A Utah Highway Patrol sergeant is facing a lawsuit accused of sexually harassing a Utah County woman.

Heather Leyva accuses Sgt. Blaine Robbins of stalking her and sending unwanted text messages. 

She said Sgt. Robbins used his position as manager over a UHP towing rotation program to harass to the single mother. If she resisted, Leyva said she worried her employer, West Coast Towing, could lose business, she could miss out on bonuses or even lose her job. 

"It is such a hard place to be in and it is very emotionally exhausting," Leyva said.

West Coast Towing contracted with UHP to clean up wrecks and tow vehicles. 

In the lawsuit, Leyva accuses Sgt. Robbins of deliberately leaving the company out of the rotation for lucrative towing jobs so Leyva would be required contact him and resolve the issues.

"He created the problems so he created the need for her to stay in contact with him," Leyva's attorney Robert Sykes said. 

According to the lawsuit, Robbins texted Leyva on May 31, 2017 saying her employer was back in rotation. He followed up by texting, "By the way, I can see your skinny little legs in one of the pictures."

The suit accuses Sgt. Robbins of calling Leyva "baby, beautiful and sexy" during sexually-charged text messages between January and July 2017.

 On April 2, Sgt. Robbins is accused of trying to come to her home, writing quote: "I heard there was a disturbance call at your house. What's the address and I'll come check it out." 

"I'm trying to deflect it because I don't want to be strong-fisted and hard with him because I'm concerned about what that is going to lead to," Leyva said.

"He actually pulled her over one day with a police car. He stopped her on the road going home with his siren and lights and said I just want to see you," Sykes said.

UHP declined an interview but released this statement: 

"The Department of Public Safety has been made aware of a possible lawsuit claiming Heather Leyva was sexually harassed by a member of the Utah Highway Patrol. The Department takes all allegations of harassment very seriously. Due to potential litigation, our Department has no further comment regarding this matter."

Leyva accuses UHP superiors of protecting Sgt. Robbins when confronted with the accusations, however the law enforcement agency is not named in the lawsuit. 

Stykes said Sgt. Robbins was quickly removed from his position and reassigned. 

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