KANSAS CITY, KAN. (CN) – A state judge repeatedly fondled a court worker under her clothes and the State of Kansas fired her for reporting the sexual harassment to the chief judge and the court administrator, the woman says in Federal Court.
Christie Helm, a court worker since 1995, says Judge Frederick Stewart sexually harassed her for years, and became increasingly aggressive in 2007. Stewart is a judge in Kansas’ First Judicial District.
Helm says she was an administrative aide in Judge Stewart’s division from 2001 until she was fired in December 2007.
She says that “on and off” from 1998 until 2007, “Judge Stewart subjected plaintiff to sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual touching and remarks.”
The complaint continues: “Beginning in late March 2007 and continuing through June 2007, Judge Stewart’s unwelcome sexual touching of plaintiff escalated dramatically, including the following: a. on approximately a dozen occasions, Judge Stewart tried to kiss plaintiff in his chambers; and b. on approximately five occasions, Judge Stewart reached under plaintiff’s clothing and touched plaintiff’s intimate body parts.”
She says she reported the sexual harassment to Chief Judge David King in June 2007, to Judge Robert Bednar in August 2007, to First Judicial District Court Administrator Steve Crossland in August 2007, and that she testified about it to the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications on Sept. 17, 2007.
She says Chief Judge King fired her on Dec. 14, 2007.
The complaint adds: “Chief Judge King’s termination of plaintiff was in retaliation for her opposition – and/or participating in the investigation of – Judge Stewart’s sexual harassment of plaintiff.”
She demands punitive damages for sexual harassment and retaliatory firing. She is represented by Martin Meyers of Kansas City, Mo.