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|LAUSD Reaches Settlement in Sexual Harassment Allegation Against Former Superintendent|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 24 May 2012 04:20|
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a sexualharassment allegation filed by a facilities employee against retired Superintendent Ramon Cortines, district officials said Wednesday, May 23.
In addition, Scot Graham, who has worked for the district since 2000 and currently oversees its leasing operations, will also receive lifetime health benefits along with the severance payout.
At the recommendation of the district's lawyers, the LAUSD board voted 4-3 during executive session on Tuesday to approve the settlement during executive session on Tuesday, May 22.
Graham's attorneys had informed district officials in March they planned to file a claim related to a sexual encounter that Cortines and Graham had in 2010 at the then-superintendent's second home in Kern County.
In responding to the settlement, Cortines, 79, who retired from the LAUSD in April 2011, said, "I deny any and all allegations that I sexually harassed Mr. Graham. In 2010, during a weekend trip, we did engage in consensual spontaneous adult behavior on one occasion. This brief private encounter occurred during a non-District related trip, outside of Los Angeles County and at my private residence.
"As the District's former top staff member, I regret allowing myself to engage in such spontaneous, consensual behavior. However, Mr. Graham had never indicated to me that our interaction was unwelcome. Even after I retired from the District in April 2011, Mr. Graham continued to seek me out to interact with him socially. This included going out to brunch and being invited to have dinner at his home along with his partner as recent as early 2012."
Present superintendent Dr. John Deasy, who replaced Cortines, said in a statement, "I consider all allegations of sexual harassment to be serious. However, the conduct alleged against my predecessor in this matter occurred prior to my becoming superintendent. The Board is charged with the oversight of the District, and the Board is responsible for taking the action it feels is appropriate in this matter. As such, I would refer you to the District's outside counsel for further comment."
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