NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A former manager of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court says she was sexually harassed by a former judge, emotionally abused by six other judges, all of whom are still seated, and wrongfully fired. She claims that "in at least one instance, former [Chief] Judge [David] Bell proposed to condition Ms. Griffith's pay raise upon exchange of a sexual favor."
In a 69-page federal complaint, Tammy Griffith, the court's former assistant fiscal manager, says she was "repeatedly subjected to unwelcomed sexual advances by former Chief Judge David Bell over a three and a half year period, and, in at least one instance, former Judge Bell proposed to condition Ms. Griffith's pay raise upon exchange of a sexual favor."
Things got more complicated when Judge Bell went on leave and his successor, Judge Ernestine Gray, found out about the sexual harassment and asked Griffith to "to comply with Judge Gray's efforts to remove Judge Bell from the bench," according to the complaint.
Griffith says she told Judge Gray she did not want to go on record with a sexual harassment claim, "because she feared losing her job and risking her safety."
Griffith says: "From the moment Ms. Griffith expressed her unwillingness to comply with Judge Gray's opportunistic and self-serving interest in having Judge Bell removed from the bench, Ms. Griffith became the target of Judge Gray's willful and intentional retaliatory behavior."
Griffith says the other judges knew of Gray's retaliation and did nothing.
Bell resigned from his post in June 2010 amid allegations he had sexually harassed several court employees.
According to Griffith's lawsuit, the allegations that led to Bell's resignation were filed in a public complaint by Judge Gray, and named Griffith, after Griffith had told Judge Gray she feared for her job and safety and did not want to go public.
In one instance of sexual harassment by Judge Bell, Griffith says, the judge told her he wanted "'to get with her.'"
According to the complaint: "Ms. Griffith informed Judge Bell that she 'didn't shit where [she ate]' and doesn't 'fool around with married men.'" (Brackets in complaint.)
That very day, Griffith says, Judge Bell came to her office and left his divorce papers face down on her desk.
The complaint continues: "Shocked by his actions, Ms. Griffith showed the documents to another employee, who was present when Judge Bell set the papers on her desk face down.
"The next day, Judge Bell again appeared in Ms. Griffith's office and asked her what was she going to do. She responded, 'those papers were not signed and, regardless, I am not interested in "getting with you in that way".'"