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Attorney General Involvement Requested In OC Sexual Harassment Scandal

In a letter sent Tuesday to California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, the California branch of the National Organization of Women (NOW) requested an independent investigation into the sexual harassment scandal in Orange County. The letter alleges that the County is not doing nearly enough to protect female workers after criminal charges were filed against Carlos Bustamante, a former Public Works administrator.

About a dozen women, in addition to NOW and representatives from the Orange County Employees Association have asked the Attorney General to intervene in part due to a conflict of interest with the Orange County District Attorney. The DA allegedly worked with the Orange County Board of Supervisors to keep letters complaining of sexual harassment and assault at the County out of the public's view.

It took 16 months from the time a complaint was filed with the County about illegal and criminal behavior by Bustamonte in County offices for charges to be filed. That much time, said Kim Salter of NOW, is simply too long.

As is too often the case, when there is one victim of a sexual assault or sexual harassment, there are often others. The letter to the Attorney General asserts that an independent review by her office is necessary to restore the faith of all female employees in Orange County that they do not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace and that if they do report harassment, their complaints will not be brushed under the rug.

County Supervisor John Moorlach says changes are still forthcoming.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Culture of "abuse" continues after Bustamante arrest, women say," August 7, 2012

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