PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A former district attorney twice sexually assaulted his secretary and threatened to get her fired if she told anyone, the secretary claims in Federal Court.
The state later verified the secretary’s claims during an investigation, but her coworkers harassed her and the state, the county and the governor all refused to do anything about it, according to the woman’s $5 million gender discrimination complaint.
After a year of sexual harassment, Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa sexually assaulted his secretary on New Year’s Eve in 2009, the secretary claims.
The next day, he forced her to “engage in sexual acts against her will under threat of physical force and retribution in the workplace,” according to the complaint. Over the next eight months, the district attorney subjected the woman to physical, sexual and emotional abuse that “altered the terms of her employment,” the lawsuit states.
She says she filed a complaint against him and a November 2010 investigation verified that Gushwa had twice sexually assaulted her. A polygraph test showed that “the sexual contact between Gushwa and Plaintiff was without Plaintiff’s consent on at least two occasions,” according to the complaint.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the state attorney general “admitted that Defendant Gushwa engaged in sexual touching of Plaintiff during work hours through an unlawful exercise of his official duties. Defendant State of Oregon also admitted that Defendant Gushwa threatened Plaintiff with job consequences if she did not remain silent about the sexual relationship.”
Gushwa resigned shortly after the investigation, The Oregonian reported.
Despite that vindication, she says coworkers singled her out for “differing treatment and additional work,” she says.
The secretary says she reported the harassment to Umatilla County’s human resources office, but the retaliation continued.
And she claims Gushwa’s bosses should have known about prior sexual relationships between him and other office staff.
Thomas Doyle with Bennett Hartman is representing the woman in her lawsuit against Gushwa, the state of Oregon, Umatilla County and former Governor Ted Kulongoski.