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Sexual Harassment Suit Filed Against Retired LAUSD Superintendent

We’ve previously blogged about the sexual harassment claims made against former LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines and the breakdown of what was thought to be a settlement of all related claims. A sexual harassment lawsuit was recently filed against Cortines, reviving the sexual harassment claims.

Former leasing manager Scot Graham claims that the sexual harassment began in 2000 and that complaints to management about Cortines’ inappropriate behavior were ignored. Cortines asserts that he did not sexually harass Graham but admits that the two once had a consensual encounter at Cortines’ private residence.

When Graham was hired, based at least in part on Cortines’ recommendation, Cortines was the acting interim superintendent of the LAUSD. Graham alleges in his suit that Cortines violated several LAUSD hiring policies during his own recruitment; Graham did not even have to interview for his position.

Once hired, Graham claims that Cortines propositioned him for sex. Graham declined the overtures.

When Cortines returned to the superintendent position in 2008, Graham claims that he received unwanted attention again from Cortines. Graham also asserts that Cortines had the ability to lay Graham off at any moment as a cost-cutting measure and as the primary breadwinner for his family, Graham accepted Cortines’ invitation to his private property.

Cortines’ version of events differs greatly from Graham’s. He claims that Graham and his husband remained social acquaintances of Cortines well after he left his position as superintendent. The school district also maintains that it did not act on the allegations of sexual harassment at Graham’s request but that they encouraged him to report any future misconduct.

Graham has also served the school district with a request for damages. This type of request often indicates that a lawsuit is forthcoming. The current suit does not name LAUSD as a defendant.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Suit accuses former LAUSD Supt. Cortines of sexual harassment,” July 25, 2012

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