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As we noted, during the last three years the state of California has paid out more than $25 million to settle sexual harassment claims against state agencies and public universities. The payouts ranged from $500 to $1.7 million, and the state did not volunteer the information or make it easy to find. As usual, the problem is much worse than the state portrays.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, “California’s court system paid more than $500,000 over seven years to resolve sexual harassment complaints against judges and staff.” The court system paid $296,000 to resolve three complaints against judges and $225,000 to settle two lawsuits against court staff. Outside attorneys and investigators burned up a full $79,750 and the more than $500,000 in reported spending “is likely less than the actual cost to taxpayers of resolving sexual harassment complaints against judges and staff.” This is because “county courts can resolve such cases themselves without reporting to the statewide council,” which reveals no names. It has emerged, however, that one settlement involved Tulare judge Valeriano Saucedo, booted from the bench for inappropriate behavior with his clerk Priscilla Tovar. She’s not disclosing the amount of the settlement, but the deal has something in common with the more than $25 million state agencies and universities have paid out in the last three years.
Embattled California taxpayers picked up the tab for all of it. Until the state makes abusers take responsibility for their own actions, and comes clean with the public, nothing is going to change.