LOS ANGELES (AP) — The state of California filed a lawsuit Tuesday against CBS, Disney and producers of the long-running series “Criminal Minds,” alleging that the show’s cinematographer engaged in rampant sexual misconduct against crew members for years.

 

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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 19: A cake on display during the 100th episode celebration for the television show “Criminal Minds” on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

 

The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing says the show’s production team knew of and condoned the behavior of cinematographer Gregory St. Johns throughout the 14 years he spent on “Criminal Minds,” and fired more than a dozen men who resisted his unwanted groping and sexual harassment.

“With the aid of defendants, St. Johns created an unchecked intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment on the set of Criminal Minds,” the lawsuit alleges.

The popular crime procedural, which ran on CBS from 2005 until earlier this year, was co-produced by CBS and the Disney-owned ABC Signature Studios.

 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 20: A silhouette of (L-R) Show Creator Jeff Davis, Executive Producer Ed Bernero, Executive Producer Mark Gordon, actor Mandy Patinkin, actor Thomas Gibson, actor Shemar Moore, actress Lola Glaudini and actor Matthew Gray Gubler attend the panel discussion for “Criminal Minds” during the CBS 2005 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

 

 

Those three entities along with production company Entertainment Partners, several of the show’s producers and St. Johns himself are named as defendants in the suit, which seeks back pay and other damages for the crew members who were fired.

Emails sent to representatives for the defendants seeking comment were not immediately returned.

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The state agency began an investigation in March 2019 and found that St. Johns had engaged in a pattern of unwanted sexual touching including the groping of men’s genitals and buttocks and kisses and caresses on their necks and shoulders. “St. Johns’ conduct was rampant, frequent, and in the open,” the suit states.

 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 20: (L-R) Show Creator Jeff Davis, Executive Producer Ed Bernero, Executive Producer Mark Gordon, actor Mandy Patinkin, actor Thomas Gibson, actor Shemar Moore, actress Lola Glaudini and actor Matthew Gray Gubler attend the panel discussion for “Criminal Minds” during the CBS 2005 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 20, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

 

He unfairly criticized, socially ostracized and publicly shamed those who resisted him, the suit alleges, and executives overseeing the show routinely approved of the retaliatory firings he recommended.

Complaints to human resources did not result in meaningful discipline against St. Johns, and investigations by the corporate defendants were toothless and designed to hide the misconduct, the suit says.

 

PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 18: (L-R) Executive producer Mark Gordon, Actress Paget Brewster, Actor Thomas Gibson, Actor Shemar Moore, and Executive producer/writer Ed Bernero of “Criminal Minds” speak during the 2007 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour for CBS at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel on January 18, 2007 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

 

St. Johns was fired in 2018 after a story in Variety that detailed complaints from crew members.

 

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