Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Former Chief Administrator Sues San Bernardino District Attorney
Ex-Official Accuses Stout of Harassment, Defamation, Retaliation, ‘Blackballing’
By J'AMY PACHECO, Staff Writer
San Bernardino District Attorney Dennis Stout has been accused of sexually harassing a former administrator, her attorney said Friday.
Vincent Nolan is representing former Chief of Administration Theresa Bushey, who has filed a lawsuit accusing the county’s top prosecutor of sexual harassment. Bushey also accuses Stout of retaliation, defamation and of taking action to inhibit her ability to gain employment elsewhere.
The suit was filed Oct. 31 in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Nolan, a Riverside employment litigator who represents only employees, said Bushey’s suit accuses Stout of having committed the alleged harassment “over a period of four or five years.” Bushey accused her former boss of “engaging in a course of conduct involving verbal sexual harassment,” and one episode of physical harassment involving an alleged “swat on the behind.”
Bushey’s suit claims that Stout fired her in August in retaliation after she complained about the alleged harassment. Nolan said the complaint was made in a face-to-face meeting with Stout.
The defamation accusation stems from statements Bushey claims Stout made at or about the time of her termination indicating Bushey was fired for “inflating budgetary figures,” Nolan said. Had Bushey inflated figures, Nolan pointed out, her actions would have been illegal. Stout’s statements, he said, “impugned her honesty and integrity.”
“All information that we’ve gathered indicates that she was an exemplary employee at the time of her termination,” Nolan stated.
The “blackballing” allegation involves a separation report prepared by Stout’s office at the time of Bushey’s termination, Nolan said. In that document, Nolan said Bushey’s work was described as being “below standards,” and she was noted as being ineligible for rehire.
Nolan was unable to say if the claim of “blackballing” applies to Bushey’s ability to find work outside of county employ, or if it applies only to her working again for the county. He said she is currently seeking other employment.
Friday evening, Stout’s secretary referred calls to his attorney, Geoffrey Hopper of Riverside. Hopper could not be reached for comment, but according to The Sun, a San Bernardino County newspaper, Hopper branded the claims “outrageous and totally false.” The Sun reported assertions by Hopper that that Bushey swore revenge when fired and said she vowed to time her revenge to affect the March election, in which the two-term district attorney is being challenged.
Nolan said he expects the case to come to trial in 12 to 18 months.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company