Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto has had charges of sexual harassment against him by a deputy who works for his department dropped. According to a report by Daily Democrat, Robin Gonzalez filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2013 alleging that Prieto constantly harassed her for years. However, US District Judge Kimberly Mueller has dismissed the charges citing that some of the claims could not be verified and there was a lack of evidence to support the allegations.
According to sexual harassment attorneys who can be found on the terrific website USAttorneys.com, judge Mueller stopped the suit from proceeding and ruled that many of the incidents described by Gonzalez in her July 2013 lawsuit were alleged to have taken place prior to March 2012, and was therefore beyond the statute of limitations. Incidentally, Gonzalez has been employed for 11 years in the department.
In her 19-page order, Judge Mueller observed that only a few allegations remained within the limitations period. She also noted that the plaintiff’s testimony about Prieto’s conduct did not provide sufficient evidence of any sexual tone in his behavior.
Three lawsuits in two and half years
Prieto, a veteran of Yolo County law enforcement and sheriff since 1998, expressed his satisfaction following the dismissal of the case and in a statement said he was happy to move forward. According to sexual harassment attorneys, Prieto has been a defendant in a lawsuit three times in the last two and a half year, alleging that he created a hostile working environment. All three have been filed by a Sacramento sexual harassment attorney on behalf of two serving employees and one former employee.
As reported by The Sacramento Bee, a 2012 lawsuit filed by now-retired correctional sergeant Victoria Zetwick alleging that she was subjected to unwelcome hugs and kisses, was dismissed by US District Judge Troy L. Nunley. The judge in that case also cited the lack of facts to support the plaintiff’s claims. However, Zetwick’s appeal is pending before the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prieto also faced allegations of race-based harassment after a complaint was filed by 46 year old African American Darrel Johnson. Judge Mueller also dismissed that case due to lack of evidence. Johnson, who is no longer with the department, claims he was subjected to strong racial slurs by Prieto who created a racially hostile work environment. Johnson is no longer employed with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.
Gonzalez telling tall tales
In Robin Gonzalez’s case, Judge Mueller noted that the plaintiff did not provide any concrete basis for her belief that Prieto looked at her in a sexual manner or that he created a hostile working environment. She also noted that Gonzalez did not provide the testimony of any witness to support her claims.
Defendant’s sexual harassment attorney clarifies
Sherriff Prieto’s sexual harassment attorney said the lawsuit was possibly an attempt to extract money from the county. With all those California taxes to pay, this is not surprising. In addition, an independent investigation did not find any evidence of sexual harassment but it did cost the California tax payer more money.
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