City of Fresno Settled a Sexual Harassment case

March 27, 2008 8:25:00 PM PDT
A sexual harassment claim will cost the City of Fresno two-hundred-thousand dollars.The city has agreed to settle with a former worker who claims the mayor's former right-hand man victimized her. Roger Montero was Fresno's First Deputy Mayor, a position created by Mayor Alan Autry. He resigned last April after his former assistant Karen Boquist complained Montero "sexualized the workplace."

Boquist worked for Montero only three months. In her lawsuit she says she quit last March, because Montero's behavior became outrageous and unbearable.

Late last year Boquist filed suit against the city claiming her complaints about Montero had been ignored. Now, instead of letting the case come to trial, the City of Fresno has decided to settle. City Attorney James Sanchez says paying the two-hundred-thousand is probably cheaper than going to court, and Boquist's attorney agreed.

James Sanchez, Fresno City Attorney: "It was a business decision and it is a significant amount of money. But in this day and age the cost of litigating a case like this can run as high several million dollars. We've seen some cases in the recent past that have brought that."

Butch Wagner, Plaintiff's Attorney: "She accepted the settlement amount, although knowing that had we gone we gone to trial, in all likelihood the verdict could have been significantly higher, although we never know for sure."

Attorney Butch Wagner says Boquist simply wanted to put the incident behind here. According to the settlement, Karen Boquist has agreed to drop any further legal action against the city, or former Deputy Mayor Roger Montero.

This is just the latest sexual harassment settlement for the city. Last year, a former employee of the parking department was given 150-thousand dollars over her claim against her former Supervisor Bob Madewell.


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