Santa Fe veterinarian accused of sexually harassing former employee | KOB 4

Santa Fe veterinarian accused of sexually harassing former employee

Chris Ramirez
Updated: November 18, 2019 06:29 AM
Created: November 15, 2019 07:05 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A Santa Fe woman who once worked for a well-known veterinarian is accusing her former boss of sexual harassment.

Dr. Philip Hinko owns The Animal Clinic on Cerillos Road in Santa Fe.


Brooke Varela worked for Dr. Hinko in late 2018, but her employment quickly ended after she claimed the doctor belittled her, slapped her on the rear-end a handful of times and in one incident-- inserted his fingers in her vagina. 

“Women should not have to submit to the sexual demands of their male employers in order to earn a paycheck,” said Varela’s attorney, Erin Chavez. “No one should have to choose between their dignity and their job.”

In a police report, filed with Santa Fe police, Varela reported that when she bent over at work, Dr. Hinko slapped her in the groin area and inserted his fingers inside her for seven seconds.

After the alleged incident, Varela called her boss and recorded the conversation.

“I know sometimes you play around with the girls and you are really comfortable with the girls and you walk by and tap us on the butt and stuff, so I wanted to talk you about this because I didn't know if you did it intentional or an accident, but I felt really uncomfortable after it happened.  I was standing in front of the desk and I went to reach for a phone, or whatever, and you slapped me on the butt and you got me in the wrong spot,” Varela told Dr. Hinko.

The doctor apologized.

“Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean it,” Dr. Hinko told Varela. “I probably just did it, I mean, I'm sorry.”

Varela lawsuit alleges battery.

The Santa Fe Police Department referred the case to the district attorney's office for review, but no criminal charges have been filed against Dr. Hinko. 

The detective investigating this case also spoke with other female employees at the animal clinic who said they never saw Dr. Hinko digitally penetrate Varela.

Dr. Hinko declined to comment about the case.

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