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LAUSD's Sexual Harassment Suit: Settled Or Not Settled?

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced that it had reached a settlement with former employee Scot Graham regarding sexual harassment charges he had brought against retired Superintendent Ramon Cortines. Graham alleged that he had been harassed at a ranch owned by Cortines in 2010; Cortines maintained that the two had an encounter, but that it was consensual.

The school board said that the settlement included a $200,000 cash payout to Graham as well as health benefits for the rest of his life. In return, Graham would leave his job in facilities with the school district.

But LAUSD may have been too quick to announce the settlement and to divulge the parties and claims involved. Graham's attorney says they are now looking at all available options, including filing a lawsuit against the school district, because the settlement agreement had not been formalized and his client's identity was not properly protected.

One side says the other "jumped the gun" while the other says they honestly believed the sexual harassment claims had been fully dealt with and a settlement agreement had been reached. According to an attorney representing LAUSD, the district was simply trying to be as open as possible about what was going on related to the sexual harassment claims.

Graham reported to work on Thursday but was refused entry by LAUSD security. Under the terms of the settlement, Graham was supposed to have resigned his position by Thursday.

Because of the sexual harassment claims made against Cortines, some parents of students who attend the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts are calling for the school to be renamed. It's not clear whether the district agrees with the parents or whether any action will be taken on a name change for the Cortines School.

Source: KABC-TV Los Angeles, "Ramon Cortines, ex-LAUSD chief, settles sexual harassment claim," May 24, 2012

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