San Jose Fire Station 3, where Casilia Loessberg used to work. (Photo/San Jose Fire Department)
San Jose Fire Station 3, where Casilia Loessberg used to work. (Photo/San Jose Fire Department)

Ex–firefighter’s lawsuit says her superior was a ‘known Nazi sympathizer’

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Updated Mar. 22 at 3:00 p.m.

A former San Jose firefighter is suing the city, claiming she was the target of racist and antisemitic attacks, was sexually harassed by her supervisors, and that San Jose officials failed to prevent it.

Casilia Loessberg, 35, a Black former Marine, alleges in a civil suit filed Feb. 22 that while working at a downtown-area fire station in 2017 and 2018 that her supervisor, Clint Smith, “professed beliefs about being a Nazi sympathizer” on many occasions and was never disciplined.

Loessberg was the first woman assigned to work at station No. 3, according to the lawsuit, which claims it had a “rough and tough” reputation and was known as “the Cowboy station.”

Despite not being Jewish, Loessberg alleges she was the target of numerous antisemitic comments and incidents perpetrated by Smith.

“Smith asked Casilia if she was Jewish. She told him that she believed she is German. He insisted to her that she was Jewish because of her last name, while also talking about genocide and saying that Jews should all be put into ovens,” Loessberg claims in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that on “at least one occasion” Smith drew swastikas on the station’s kitchen whiteboard, and that fire captain Bryan Marks observed the drawings.

“Captain Marks told Supervisor Smith to calm down but did not otherwise discipline him in any way for his open hostility toward African Americans and ‘Jews,’” the lawsuit claims.

It also says Smith would “regularly and openly make racist and anti-Semitic remarks, including continual use of the ‘N’ word, statements about genocide of the Jewish people, and his support of the Nazi Party.”

Smith “repeatedly suggested that she was Jewish and thus was the intended target of his anti-semiticism,” according to the lawsuit, and that she “suffered and continues to suffer extreme emotional distress and severe trauma.”

Smith also allegedly made numerous sexual advances toward Loessberg and would invite her to his home when his wife and children were absent, according to the lawsuit.

The most current Transparent California salary records show Smith was paid $226,000 as a San Jose firefighter in 2021. A spokesperson for the city confirmed he is still employed by San Jose.

Other firefighters from stations 3, 9 and 34 are named in the lawsuit, which also claims repeated sexual assault and harassment. After participating in a sexual harassment training in late 2021, Loessberg reported the abuse to the human resources department, the lawsuit alleges.

She was interviewed three times over the next year by representatives of San Jose following her initial report, according to her suit.

Loessberg claims in December 2021 she was “constructively discharged” from her employment as a San Jose firefighter, a legal term meaning that she left her job because of intolerable working conditions.

As a result, she claims, her reputation and future employment prospects were damaged. She is seeking unspecified damages and compensation for lost wages.

Loessberg is represented by Fresno-based attorney Charles Trudrung Taylor.

Jew,  Jewish,  J. The Jewish News of Northern California
Emma Goss.(Photo/Aaron Levy-Wolins)
Emma Goss

Emma Goss is a J. staff writer. She is a Bay Area native and an alum of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Kehillah Jewish High School. Emma also reports for NBC Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaAudreyGoss.