In the #MeToo and #TimesUp era, you would think that a state government would be more careful about who they hire and promote. However, in California, people who have been accused of groping co-workers are often promoted out of the situation.
One example from the Sacramento Bee is a case out of the Porterville Developmental Center in the Sierra foothills. There, five peace officers were accused of groping, leering, making vulgar comments, spreading sexually explicit rumors, penning anonymus notes, and other gross behavior that would get most anyone who worked in the private sector immediately canned.
Not so for California state workers. After one $600,000 settlement was reached, the state decided to promote one of the accused officers, David L. Corral. Not only did he get a new title, he was also awarded a 23 percent raise, and was sent to another facility about 200 miles away in Costa Mesa.
The worst part? Corral was accused of sexual harassment again and the state once again had to pay out over his alleged bad behavior.
The case illustrates a system that is woefully underequipped to handle state workers who have been accused of sexual harassment.
Corral wasn't the only example that the Sacramento Bee found.
- A correctional officer accused in a 2012 lawsuit of harassing and stalking a female guard was moved to another maximum security prison 250 miles away, where his total pay steadily rose until he retired in 2017 with a $48,000 annual pension. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation settled the lawsuit for $750,000.
One peace officer who was at the center of two sexual harassment and retaliation settlements totaling $1.1 million was granted a state medical retirement, then returned 3½ years later as a post-retirement worker, collecting more pay. Before his return, he had petitioned the state for additional benefits after accusing the Department of Consumer Affairs of ruining his health with all its "groundless" internal investigations into his conduct.
- In at least three instances, accused harassers bounced from one department to another, even after large settlements were reached. A male supervisor at the California Highway Patrol, whose conduct led to a $600,000 settlement, is now at a different department earning 36 percent more than when he joined the CHP in December 2011.
Hopefully Sacramento will figure out what 'consequences' actually mean at some point.